The Birth of the
Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia
Study into the Kahal (Hebrew) Nazarene Ecclesia (Congregation) of Yisra’el (Israel) called by Christians ‘The Jerusalem Church’
Commentary by Robert D. Mock M.D.
February 6, 1999
Rewritten August, 2003
Reedited October, 2005
Scholars have tried for centuries to get in touch with the powerful dynamics that were occurring in the months that followed the resurrection of Christ. The emotional and concerted energies of hundreds of believers led to a revival of which over the centuries, many have sought to replicate but has never been duplicated. The messages of Jesus, as penetrating and life altering as they are, were not the only catalyst which drove the primitive Nazarene Ecclesia in its great evangelical thrust.
The “primitive Christians” at that time were in the process of developing their Jewish sect within the entire economy of the Jewish life in Roman Judea. To them, they were to transform their Jewish way of life, culture and politics. This transformation was induced not only with the permission but the command to “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” was about as rapid a paradigm shift in religio-political culture as has ever been seen. The central cultural thesis in Judaism was that the world would come to them to learn of the majesty of the Hebrew God not realizing that they were about to reach out in the first and most powerful thrust in making the Hebrew monotheistic God into a Universal God for all mankind.
The participants in that Pentecostal experience had no concept that what they were about to do was far more than a major reformation of Jewish life. They were still Israelites at heart and they knew that their primary mission was to take the “good news” to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Their ancestral brethren in small tribes and groups had been separating themselves from the main body of Israelites even before the Exodus. The largest separation had been with the forced emigration of the northern ten tribes by the Assyrian warlords. The most recent had been the schism between the Samaritans and the Jews.
As we now begin our search for the lives and missions of Christ’s closest associates, almost all, except Paul would have their mental prisms colored by the fact that they were searching out their lost ancestors and to give them the ‘good news’ that the revelation of God coming in the flesh would forever change their lives as followers of ‘the Way”
The central core belief that is critical to understand is; on Pentecost, 30 CE the disciples and associates of Jesus firmly believed in their minds that Jesus had risen from the dead and had ascended up into heaven, yet in their minds this assent was only temporarily. He would come again and in this generation.
A historian should stay closely with the religious belief systems that are a part of the cultural life of the players and participants. In spite of the attempts of ‘modern critical thinkers’ to redefine the essential elements of the resurrection story, the Jewish teachings of resurrection are not ambiguous but quite definite. To the Jew, the resurrection was nothing more than the “getting up’ of one who has been lying down as a corpse, the reanimation of a dead body, so that the individual breathes and moves and has all his physical functions restores. It is as the awakening from sleep or coma.” (Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 97)
Even more so, in reference to the future Messianic Age, when the followers of Jesus will be resurrected, it was still nothing more than a restoration of life as experience in the present world, yet with some difference, it might be a more glorious body, or a life of longer duration or potential immortality.
When the disciples saw that the tomb was empty, it was one of incredulous disbelief. In spite of Jesus repeatedly telling them that He would rise again, we find the Galileans fleeing and heading back to the Sea of Galilee. To them, their life was a failure, Jesus was dead, and now his body had been stolen. Besides that they were being blamed for stealing the body.
Then there began to occur multiple sightings of Jesus, the emphasis on confirming that he was a real body (touching his wounds, eating bread or fish with them), even though on one occasion, he materializes in front of them as though he came through the wall. Even Jesus’ own brother, Jacob (James) who becomes the central leader of the Jerusalem Church, in the Gospel of the Hebrews is described as swearing neither to eat or drink until he is able to confirm that Jesus had truly risen from the grave. So Jesus came to him personally, requesting a table and bread and after a blessing, broke the bread and gave it to Jacob, saying:
Gospel of the Hebrews - “My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep.”
(Quoted from the Gospel of the Hebrews by Jerome, Of Illustrious Men, 2 found in The Pentecost Revolution by Hugh Joseph Schonfield, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 104).
What a testimony this is on the nature of the state of the dead who sleep awaiting the resurrection by their Lord.
The Pentecost Revival in Jerusalem
Apostle Peter the fiery evangelist at Pentecost when Thousands converted to “The Way”
It could not have been a more memorable moment when on the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost all the friends and disciples of Jesus were celebrating the festival of the first-fruits. That they were all Jewish and fully immerse in the life of Torah must truly be accepted to understand fully the implications of the actions and reactions that would come over the next decades. Here we see the proclamation of the literal resurrection of the Messiah was to become a literal image of a still future literal event, the resurrection of the elect or Holy Ones. Did not Paul, known as the Pharisee Rabbi Shaul say?
I Corinthians 15:20 – “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
As reported in Acts, after Peter finished exhorting the people that this was “the Last Days”, a time when God will say,
Acts 2:17-18 - “I will pour out upon everyone a portion of my spirit; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Yes, I will endue even my slaves, both men and women, with a portion of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
Do we have a hint or a clue that it was the downtrodden and the youth of both genders, who would receive the most noticeable portion of the spirit, for if you are to prophesy, you must also speak your prophesy in public and do so in public.
Here we see Peter was he stood and preached before thousands proclaiming the Good News about Jesus. He spoke of Jesus as the “man singled out by God and made known to you through miracles, portents, and signs,” (Acts 2:22) and now Jesus was “set free from the pangs of death.” (Acts 2:23)
From this, the New Testament’s greatest evangelistic campaign in Jerusalem, three thousand responded to Peter as he “pressed his case” with the plea, “the “Repent and is baptized”. The city of Jerusalem was astir, as one author said, “seething”, in anticipation and expectation. Their hearts were open, for the seed had been sown for three and a half years by the “Son of man”, and now in league with the “Spirit”, the harvest was being reaped.
It’s important to understand, the Pharisees and Sadducees as major parties could only number about seven to eight thousand adherents each, and with the Essenes, the number was slightly less. Three thousand added in one day to the new “Party of Jesus” called “The Way” was a major religious and political event. Many may have come from the general population and the Diaspora Jews, yet when we soon look at the structure of the Jerusalem Church, we will see a strong influence from the organization and polity of the Essenes.
The people in Jerusalem were very much affected and supportive of the followers of Jesus. These Nazarene believers were pro-messianic and were expecting the future redemption of Israel by their rising messiah. They were not elitist and many were directly associated with the rank and file of the ordinary Jewish population. The core believers of Jesus cared deeply for the poor, the oppressed and the down-trodden and as staunch believers in the Law of Moses, they remained apart from the appearance of contact with heathens or heathen customs.
On the other hand, the messianic message of the early Nazarenes was also attractive to the more radical zealots who had a political agenda to promote. The zealot guerrillas or the messianic ‘underground’ who could respond suddenly to the fanatical ideology of a prophet (false) or aspirant to the throne of David, would forever link the early primitive Christians to the radical fringe which eventually brought Judea to her knees and the destruction of Jerusalem.
The outpouring of fervor, zeal and ecstasy ran through the streets of the ‘Old City’ now known as the Ophel. Hundreds and thousands were wanting to join the new movement. (Acts 2:42-47) With them came their savings, their prized possessions and there they laid them at the feet of the apostles. The more affluent brought titles and deeds to their buildings to give to the congregation of the Nazarenes. The throngs crowded the streets to hear and participate in the acclamation of their new faith, while going to the temple courtyard to hear Peter and John daily preach and teach to the multitudes. It was here that the lame man was healed (Act 3 1-26), it was here that Peter and John were arrested mainly because they were causing a public commotion and it was a nuisance (much less alarming) to the chief priests and Sadducean authorities. Obviously, they objected to the preaching about the resurrection in the Temple compound, but the Sanhedrin could not deal with this issue as the Pharisees were firm believers in a resurrection. Even healing in the temple was not an offense, so they were released. (Acts 4:1-24)
The release of Peter and John from the garrison of the temple guard was a political victory to the primitive followers of Jesus. Their “approval poll ratings’ sky-rocketed. Another five thousand believers were added to the Community of Jesus, including many of the priests who lived in the Ophel, many Jews living in the Diaspora, and many Gentile Hellenistic believers. Keep in mind the potential threat this was to the leading Jewish authorities. Once again Peter and John had been arrested and these times were imprisoned until a full Sanhedrin could be convened. Before they could be brought to trial, the release of Peter and John was known throughout the city. Were these white cloaked emissaries supernatural beings or were they part of the white robed Essene underground? (Acts 5:17-21) They in turn were now escorted back to the Sanhedrin, though not in chains, for questioning. Though the Sadducean hierarchy wanted their execution, it was the defense of the great Pharisaic teacher, Rabban Gamaliel, who was the urged their caution, least open rebellion be incited, led the two apostles to be flogged and released, with further warnings.
Acts 4:4 – “However, many of those who
heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five
The Lucian account states later:
Acts 6:7 – “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
With nine thousand new recruits to the Messianic Church of Jesus, the Hebrew Nazarenes were becoming the dominant sect or party in Judah.
With the large league of priests whose home was in the Ophel district of Jerusalem did truly become followers of the Jewish messiah; Yahshua was a direct testimony that the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia of Jerusalem was fully Jewish. As true orthodox Jews, they strictly obeyed all the 613 Mosaic ordinances given to Israel at Sinai. These priest continued to minister in the Temple. It was their predecessors who formed the consciousness of Jewish society. For two hundred years prior to the birth of Yahshua, they attacked the Hellenistic lifestyles of the priestly families and formed the Chasidism, who later became the Zadokites (priestly members from the family of the High Priest during King David’s rule) and Essenes, who strictly believed that the current priestly rulers from the family of Annas and the Boethe were illegitimate priests and the true Zadoks were to be the only God appointed priests.
It was here that the polarizing alignment began between the pro-Messianics and the anti-Messianics. This rift would be the central fulcrum of Jewish political life until the destruction of Jerusalem. This rift would eventually define the Jerusalem Nazarene Ecclesia, known in Acts as the Jerusalem Church.
The Birth of the Nazarene Ecclesia of Jerusalem
The date when the Jerusalem Nazarene Ecclesia was formed is unclear to modern historians. With the rapid growth of the Nazarene party and the evangelistic fervor that came with it, only suggests that an organizational structure was needed and needed immediately. What is known is that a supposed group of uneducated Galileans suddenly develop as sophisticated religious organization and began to compete for as the dominate party of the Jews in the decades after the death and resurrection of Yahshua.
Yet who were these Nazarenes, who claimed to follow the teachings of a Jewish rabbi called Yahshua the Nazarene who preached and healed the sick in Galilee and Judea? His gentile Greek followers would later call him Iesus which would later be transliterated into English as Jesus. That these Hellenistic followers were later called Christians has been one of the most confusing facts in the growth and development of the Primitive Apostolic Ecclesia, called by many the Jerusalem Christian Church.
That the church was called ‘Christian’ in Jerusalem defies the fact that there was never was a church in Jerusalem in that day, even though this fact has been declared irrelevant to most orthodox Christian scholars. Yet to blend the two; Christian and Nazarene formed a new reality that was historical, the Early Nazarene Ecclesia in Jerusalem was Jewish to its very core. Though some of the authors of the New Testament spoke and wrote in Greek, they thought in Hebrew and Aramaic. To take a meaning from the Classical and Hellenistic sources of Greek and superimpose these meanings upon the New Testament begs the idea that a proper historical context is missing.
The historical context of the New Testament could not be better stated than by a Jewish born and trained scholar in Hebrew and Jewish studies, Jacques Benyamin Doukhan Th.D., now Christian theologian as professor in Hebrew Languages, Exegesis and Jewish Studies at Andrews University and Theology School, when he wrote:
Jacques Doukhan Th.D. – “Jesus was born, lived and died as a Jew. And beyond the historical fact, every moment of his earthly existence was given a highly Jewish significance. Also, the theology used to explain the events was Jewish in nature. Jesus was born under the sign of David, which meant in Jewish terms a messianic destiny. He lived as a powerful rabbi. His teachings and his miracles, his religious works and his acts of love received a profound Jewish meaning: He was identified as the one who was presented by the Hebrew prophets, to bring shalom into the heart and hope to the oppressed Jewish people. Even his death was interpreted along Jewish categories of thinking. He was associated with the sacrifice of the temple and the lamb of Passover, the very sign of deliverance from slavery. The technical Greek word “exodus,” used in Luke 9:30-31 to describe Jesus’ death, suggests the redemptive significance of his death.” (Doukhan, Jacques Th.D., Israel and the Church, Two voices for the Same God, Hendrickson Publishers, PO Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473, 2002, pg 7)
With the knowledge now gleaned from the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now know that the concepts and ideas of the Essenes flowed throughout the messages that Jesus spoke during his Galilean ministry. The Essenes were also the guiding spiritual leaders and thinkers during the prior two centuries in the development of eschatology on the time of the end. This coming would be associated with a spectacular apocalyptic ending, when, the anointed one, the messiah would return to claim his own people. That eschatology that that is now believed by millions of modern Christians, that believe that Jesus is returning in a literal second coming, is found amongst Adventists, Evangelicals and Messianics. Their spiritual roots will be found in the villages and communes of the Essene brethren, called the ‘Elect’.
It was also the Essenes who provided the initial structure of organization to the Nazarene movement, not only in ideas and philosophy, but in structure and form. When we read:
Acts 2:43-46, 4:32-34 - “All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common, they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required. With one mind, they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy…..not a man of them claimed any of his possessions as his own, but everything was held in common, …They were all held in high esteem; for they had never a needy person among them because all who had property in land or houses sold it, brought the proceeds of the sale, and laid the money at the feet of the apostles; it was then distributed to any who stood in need.”
The communal organization of communism, founded in the villages and communities of the Essenes has been the source of inspiration even down to the eighteenth century utopian communities. This type of utopian community was noted especially in the Shaker communities, who grew out of the same religious revivalism that gave the roots to Millerism and early Adventism.
The scriptural testimony is strong and clear; Jesus did have siblings. Yet the hints we recognize are meager. We read in Acts that after the ascension of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, the friends and disciples of Jesus met again in the house with an upper room. With them were the women who had followed and supported the ministry of Jesus and also with them were the mother of Jesus and his brethren. (Acts 1:13-14) Who were these brethren and what was their relationship to Jesus? The New Testament records five times in which “the brethren” of Jesus are mentioned.
Matthew 12:46 - “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.”
Matthew 13:55 - “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Luke 8:19 - “Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.”
John 2:12 - “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.”
Acts 1:14 - “Entering the city they went to the room upstairs where they were lodging: All these were constantly at prayer together, and with them a group of women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”
In the manuscript, What happened to the Friends and Associates of Jesus, we have looked closer to the identities of the four brothers of Jesus. These four were known as:
(1) James the Less (Short), son of Joseph, who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and later known as Jacob (James) the Just as the first leader of the Jerusalem Nazarene Hebrew Ecclesia,
(2) Symeon (Simon), son of Cleopas, nominated to be the replacement leaders as head of the Jerusalem Nazarene Ecclesia upon the death of Jacob the Just in 63 CE.
(3) Jude (Thaddeus), known as one of the twelve disciples and whose sons, James and Sokher, who as part of the family of Jesus, carried their genealogies during their mission travels in order to document their relationship with Jesus. It was in 96 CE, Domitian, as Emperor, hunting down all potential aspirants to the Throne of David, transported James and Sokher to Rome to be questioned by the Emperor. They were released when it became clear they were poor peasants, owning 39 acres of land, which they tilled for a living and had no political or religious aspirations.” (Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 244) and lastly
(4) Joseph (Barsaba) ‘son of wisdom’, also called Justus, who probably was also a friend of the Apostle Paul along with Aristarchus and John Mark of whom Paul wrote:
Colossians 4:12 – “These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision (Jewish Nazarenes); they have proved to be a comfort to me.”
The first clue to this organization, we have is found in the Gospel of Thomas, (Saying 8). This gospel or collection of saying of Christ is accepted to be a very early book of Jesus’ teachings attributed to the writings of the Apostle Judas Thomas. It was preserved in the library archives of the Gnostic believers at Nag Hammadi in Egypt as one of the earliest Coptic manuscripts known to this day. Portions of this book also were found in the 19th century in Egypt at Oxyrhychus.
According to the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples inquires to Yahshua before his death:
Gospel of Thomas, Saying Eight - “We know that you will go away from us. Who will be great over us? Jesus says to them, “In the place to which you have gone (Jerusalem), you will go to Jacob the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth were created.”
In the Gospel of the Hebrews gives testimony that Jesus after his resurrection, appeared personally to his brother, because he vowed to fast until he could talk directly with Jesus. Paul alluded to this event when he said:
I Corinthians 15:7 – After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
The Lucian account in Acts of the Apostles, confirms that the apostles and disciples in one accord placed themselves under the leadership of James the Just, known as the brother of Jesus. Who was this person, Jacob, held in such high esteem, who became the undisputed leader even over all the other disciples?
Brother of Jesus
The Ossuary of James the Just - Photo by Century One
The Christian world was essentially clueless to the man called Jacob or James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus and became the first leader of the fledgling congregation of insecure believers who were still reeling over the death of their beloved rabbi. Many had become convinced that Yahshua truly was the promised messiah, but what His messianic mission was they were unsure. The resurrection and the phenomenon that was associated with the nature of the Risen Christ was enough to convince most that they were in the presence of an other-dimensional being who He represented Himself as the Son of the God of Abraham.
And then in the fall of 2002, Biblical Archeological Review shook the Christian world when it announced that a first century Judean ossuary or human bone box had been discovered and on the side of the simple and non-ornamented bone box was inscribed the simple yet riveting inscription in Aramaic,
Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui diYahshua, saying, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."
The news ricocheted around the world and immediately the scientific world was polarized as they always do when new evidence emerges of an authentic artifact of either the ancient Israeli or Jewish origins. Quickly the newsprints and airways were crying fraud and deception.
The Inscription of the Ossuary of James (Ya'akov) son of Joseph (Yosef) – NY Times Science
The ossuary is owned by an Israeli antiquities collector Oded Golan, who is the owner also of a stone tablet reputed to have been written in the reign of King Josiah of the Kingdom of Judah. Mr. Golan claimed that he purchased the ossuary, currently valued by experts to be worth about two million dollars, in the mid-1970 from an antiquities dealer who name is now not remembered in the Old City of Jerusalem for about $200. According to Hershel Shanks, editor of BAR, "The Arab dealer told the owner it came from Silwan, a Jerusalem suburb honeycombed with ancient tombs.
The ossuary was soon after its discovery was sent to a convention of biblical scholars and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto put it on display. While in route, it developed a series of cracks. The experts on Hebrew linguistics and ancient scripts were immediately divided. The burial box was obvious to all to be genuine. It was accepted that it was part of the Judean burial customs between 20 BCE and 70 CE when Jewish remains lay in long caves for a year until the flesh decayed and fell off and then the bones were placed in a limestone ossuary bone and put in a cave.
The first part of the inscription, ‘James son of Joseph’ was felt by most to be genuine but the second half of the inscription, ‘brother of Jesus’ bore the marks of a fraudulent additions to possibly around the 3rd to the 4th centuries CE. Andre Lemaire, a specialist in ancient inscriptions at the French Practical School of Higher Studies, published his finding in the Nov/Dec 2002 BAR that the writing and script was ‘very probable’ authentic and could be dated to about 63 CE, the date of the death of James the Just when he was stoned, clubbed and then thrown over the parapet of the temple walls to the Kidron valley below. Lemaire estimates that in that era of ninety years about twenty James who could have had a father called Joseph and a brother called Jesus would have lived.
On the other hand, Robert Eisenman of California State University, author of the massive book, James the brother of Jesus, attacked the authenticity of the ossuary. Eisenman, a critical skeptic who thinks that “Jesus’ existence is a very shaky thing’, finds the find ‘just too pat. It’s just too perfect’.
The Inscription on the Ossuary of James the Just
(AP Photo/Shanks' Biblical Archaeology Review)
Rev. Joseph Fitzmyer, an emeritus Biblical Studies expert at The Catholic University has expressed that the authentification of the inscription will ‘always be controversial’. According to Fitzmyer, one Israeli scholar studied 895 ossuaries from Judea and there were found inscriptions on about 200 of them, most of them inscribed in the Greek language
Until the archeological finding of the ossuary, the oldest artifact that has survived and has been recovered that mentions the name of Jesus is a fragment of the 18 chapter of the Gospel of John that was found in a manuscript discovered in Egypt in 1920 and dated to about 125 CE. Though most modern scholars date the earliest gospel, Gospel of Mark, to about 70 CE, yet this author feels that the Gospel of Mark was written as early as 55 CE in the city of Rome where Mark was assisting the Apostle Paul just before his execution in the circus of Nero.
Later in the 2nd century there are numerous manuscripts of the New Testament and three pagan authors in Rome in the 2nd century and the writings of Josephus during and after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE comprise all the earliest evidence of Jesus the son of Mary. Outside of the few biblical statement in Acts, the major sources on the life of Jacob (James) the brother of Jesus, are found in The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of the Hebrews, Hegesippus, Clements of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Origin, Eusebius, Jerome and Epiphanius. A review of these sources gives us this image of Jacob (James) the Just, known as the brother of Jesus.
It was Eusebius, the Church Historian for Constantine the Great and who was most responsible for formulating the present canon of the New Testament, stated in his book, The Church History:
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History - “Now Jacob the brother of the Lord, who, as there was many of this name, was termed the Just by all, from the days of our Lord until now, received the government of the Community with the apostles. This apostle was consecrated from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor fermented liquors, and abstained from animal food. A razor never came upon his head; he never anointed himself with oil or used a public bath. He alone was allowed to enter the Holy place. He never wore woolen, only linen garments. He was in the habit of entering the Temple alone, and was often to be found upon his knees and interceding for the forgiveness of the people; so that his knees became as hard as a camel’s …And indeed, on account of his exceeding great piety, he was called the Just (i.e. Tzaddik) and Oblias (i.e. Ophla-am), which signifies Justice and the People’s Bulwark; as the Prophets declare concerning Him.” (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, II. i as quoted by Hugh Joseph Schonfield The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and -Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 147-148).
James the Just has been recognized by all scholars as the brother of Jesus. Eusebius states it plainly:
Eusebius - “James was called the brother of the Lord since he too was called Joseph’s son, and Joseph, Christ’s father – though the virgin was his betrothed and before they came together she was found to have conceived by the Holy Spirit, as the inspired Gospel tells us (Matthew 1:18), The same James, whom early Christians surnamed “the Just” for his outstanding virtue, was the first to be elected to the bishop’s throne of the church in Jerusalem. Clement (of Alexandria), in Outlines, Book 6, puts it as follows: “Peter, James, and John, after the Savior’s ascension, did not contend for the honor because they had previously been favored by the Savior, but chose James the Just as Bishop of Jerusalem.”
Now Clement of Alexandria was quoted also by Eusebius that James the Just, Peter and John were part of an inner triumvirate that Jesus gave ‘higher knowledge’ before He ascended into the cloud.
Eusebius on Clement – “After the resurrection the Lord imparted the higher knowledge (gnosis) to James the Just, John, and Peter. They gave it to the other apostles, and the other apostles to the Seventy, one of whom was Barnabus. Now there were two Jameses: one, James the Just, who was thrown down from the parapet (of the temple) and beaten to death with a fuller’s club; the other, the James (the brother of John) who was beheaded. (Acts 12:2) (Clement of Alexandria, in Outlines, Book 6, quoted by Eusebius, The Church History, 2:1)
Yet the tenor of the passage suggests a man of great piety and a true tzaddik or righteous man amongst his people. That he was a Nazarite is true. This was a vow since his birth. That he was a Nazarene is also true as he and Jesus both probably came from the same childhood village that very well may have had an Essene village associated with it. Yet what is even more profound, James (Jacob) the Just was also a practicing Levite and allowed to enter the premises of the Holy Place, a room consecrated for the descendants of the House of Levi only.
It was Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia (315-403) who stated that:
Epiphanius - “we find that he (James) was of David’s race, being the son of Joseph, and that he was a Nazarene and a Nazarite, as Joseph’s first born son, and thereafter dedicated…”
(Epiphanius, Panarion, I xxviii, quoted in Hugh Joseph Schonfield The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and -Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 148)
According to the Mishnah, Aboth. I.2 the following statement is attributed to Jacob (James),
Mishnah, Aboth - “The world is sustained by three sayings, the Law, the Temple Service and the practice of benevolence.”
(See further the Jewish encyclopedia (Funk and Wagnalls) under Article. Simon the Just, as quoted by Hugh Joseph Schonfield The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and -Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 147-148).
And then we have the testimony of Josephus, the priest turned Jewish historian for the Roman court stated:
Josephus - “He was surnamed the Just because of both his piety towards God and his benevolence to his countrymen.” (Josephus, Aniquities of the Jews, Xii.43)
It was Clements, the third bishop of Rome that we find these remarks that Jacob (James) was called “the supreme supervisor, who rules Jerusalem, the holy Community of the Hebrews, and the communities everywhere excellently founded by the providence of God.” and was called or addressed as “Lord Jacob” (Epistle of Clement to Jacob, preceding the Clementine Homilies., quoted by Hugh Joseph Schonfield in The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p148)
Later Jerome, the doctor of Law of the Roman Church stated:
Jerome, Commentary on Galatians - “this same James, who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and known as Justus, was considered to be so Holy by the People that they earnestly (or ‘zealously’) sought to touch the hem of his clothing.”
(Jerome, Commentary on Galatians. I.19.quoted by Robert Eisenman, James the brother of Jesus, Penguin Books, 375, Hudson Street, New York, NE, 10014, 1997, p. 239)
It is rather to Hegesippus, we can credit a lot of the facts concerning the early Nazarene Church that are not found in the record of the Acts of the Apostles and other contemporary sources on the early Nazarenes in Jerusalem. Hegesippus was recognized as one of the earliest Church historians, who traveled extensively and collected every bit of information he could on the historical roots of the Nazarene and Christian communities. Many have called him the “Father of Early Christian History”.
According to Bishop Hegesippus, Jacob (James), like John the Baptist, was dedicated as a new born to be a lifelong Nazarite and followed faithfully an ascetic way of life like the Essenes. This tradition of the Nazarite was old, coming from the days of Samuel the Prophet and was a respected tenet of Jewish life for both males and females. Being a Nazarite was in no way connected his later identity with the Nazarene Church, a name more associated with a place or area, probably Nazara on the northeastern side of Galilee. As stated:
Hegissipus, Panarion - “He was of David’s race, being the son of Joseph, and that he was a Nasoraean (Nazarite), as Joseph’s first born, and therefore dedicated.” (Hegesippus, Panarion, IXXVII, as quoted in Furneaux 163-164)
Here is the picture of James the Just as gleaned from multiple historical sources. These includes that he was the first born of Joseph and dedicated to be a Nazarite. This vow in his instance was life long, including being an ascetic, one who was very pious and benevolent to the poor. He served the role as intercessor for his people, and being so long on his knees, it was claimed his knees were like ‘camels’. His name attributes, suggest that that he stood for justice and was recognized as a “Tzaddik”. He was extremely popular and drew vast throngs. He was called ‘Supreme Commander” and also “Lord Jacob”. He was especially identified by the Lord as receiving the ‘Gift of Knowledge’.
Organization of the Jerusalem Nazarene Ecclesia
It soon became apparent, at least by 34-35 CE, that the central church needed an organization to deal with the conflicts such as the Greek adherents to the faith and how to provide for the Greek widows, as well as how to deal with the gentiles who wished to be admitted into the church. The models used for the organization of the Nazarene Ecclesia were apparent, the Essene structure, Jesus ministerial organization (Luke 10:1), the Mosaic model (Numbers 11:16-17) and the Sanhedrin.
There were elected 70 representatives called Elders, with an initial cabinet of fifteen, which included a Council of twelve with three Leaders. The Sanhedrin and the Essenes had a similar structure in which:
Yet this was also adapted closer to the model of Jesus’ ministry, in which the three leaders, Peter, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother, John were part of the Twelve. In the Nazarene Congregation, the “pillars” as Paul called them, were Peter, James (Jacob) the brother of Jesus, and John.
The political structure of the newly organized Nazarene Ecclesia the:
The Jerusalem Nazarene Leaders in the New Testament Scripture
About the age of thirty one, James the Less quickly emerged as the leader of the Jerusalem Nazarene Church. This leadership was recognized most in the writing of Paul and Luke (Acts). It was to James and to Peter that on several occasions when he would return back from a mission experience; he sought private audiences with these two Apostles.
Three times James is mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Galatians. The first (39 CE) was when he returned after three years of study and initiation in the deserts of Arabia, he stayed with Peter for fifteen days and did not see any of the other apostles except for James, the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:17-19)
On his second visit, about 46 CE, Paul wrote,
Galatians 2:9 - “Recognizing, then, the favor thus bestowed upon me, the reputed pillars of our society, James, Cephas, and John, accepted Barnabas and myself as partners, and shook hands upon it, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles while they went to the Jews. All they asked was that we should keep their poor in mind, which was the very thing I made it my business to do.”
Later, Paul mentions James (Galatians 2:12), when the ideological battle arose in the Nazarene Ecclesia on whether congregational membership (salvation) could be extended to those who were not circumcised (Acts 15:13).
Go to Part Four -
The Sanhedrin and Rabbi Shaul are Coming
The Imprisoned Apostles appear before the Sanhedrin
Yahshua was Crucified on the Tree of Life
Shaul attacks James the Just on the Temple steps
The First ‘Acts’ of the Apostles
Pontius Pilate and the Samaritan Crisis at Mount Gerizim
The Roman Legate Vitellius banishes Pilate and Caiphas
Go to Part One
Go to Part Two
Go to Part Three
Go to Part Four
The Sanhedrin and Rabbi Shaul are Coming
Go to Part Five
Go to Part Six
Go to Part Seven
Go to Part Eight
Go to Part Nine
Go to Part Ten
Go to Part Eleven
Go to Part Twelve
Go to Part Thirteen
Go to Part Fourteen
Go to Part Sixteen
Go to Part Seventeen
Go to Part Eighteen
Go to Part Nineteen
Go to Part Twenty
Roman Government in the Province of Judea
Provinces of Rome by Livius
The Province of Judea by Livius
Establishing the Province of Judea (6CE) by Livius
The Pontifex Maximus (the Roman High Priest) by Livius
Praetorian Prefect, the Roman magistrate by Livius
Provincial Governors of Rome by Livius
The Prefects and Procurators of Rome by Livius
The Procurators of Judea by Livius
Procurators in Judea by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Procurators in Judea by Bible History
Pontius Pilate the Procurator of Judea
Pontius Pilate by Livius
Pontius Pilate by the Catholic Encyclopedia
Herod the Great by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Herod the Great, the King of Judea
King Herod the Great by Livius
King Herod Archelaus by Livius
King Herod Archelaus by Jewish Encyclopedia
King Herod Agrippa I by Livius
King Herod Agrippa I by Jewish Encyclopedia
King Herod Agrippa I by In His Own
King Julius Marcus Agrippa II by Livius
King Julius Marcus Agrippa II by Jewish Encyclopedia
Herod Antipas by Livius
The House of Annas and Caiaphas – High Priests in Jerusalem
High Priest House of Annas by the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
High Priest House of Annas by the Catholic Encyclopedia
High Priest House of Annas by the Latter Rain
High Priest Caiaphas by Jewish Encyclopedia
Caiaphas by the Catholic Encyclopedia
Caesarea the City of Protection for the Disciples of Christ
Virtual Caesarea Maritima by Sebastos
Caesarea Maritima by Biblical Places
Saintes Maries de la Mer on the Camarogues by Provenceweb
Saintes Maries de la Mer on the Camaroques by Beyond France
Joseph of Arimathea, the Uncle of Jesus and the Roman Decurio
Joseph of Arimathea by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Joseph of Arimathea by Britannia
Joseph of Arimathea by Catholic Encyclopedia
Joseph of Arimathea by Rev. L Smithett Lewis
Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud by Daniel Scavone
Joseph of Arimathea by Arthur and Rosalind Eadle
Joseph of Arimathea by Robert de Boron
Joseph of Arimathea by David Nash Ford
Joseph of Arimathea and David’s Throne in Britain by Triumph Prophetic Ministries of the Church of God
Ancient Celtic Britain
The Tin Islands by Arthur and Rosalind Eadle
Museum of Welch Life, St. Fagans by National Museum and Galleries of Wales
The Sacred Megalithic Landscapes of Britain by Lisa Evans
Ley Lines from Glastonbury by Isle of Avalon
Glastonbury Ley Lines by Visit Glastonbury
Glastonbury, the Home of Joseph of Arimathea
Glastonbury Abbey Official Web Site
Visitor’s Guide to Glastonbury by Glastonbury Online
Glastonbury Circle Official Web Site
Virtual Glastonbury by Avalon Connections
Glastonbury County UK Official Web Site
Glastonbury Photo Library by Sarah Boait - Recommended Site
Archive of Glastonbury Pictures by Bill Glenn
Isle of Avalon by the Isle of Avalon
Glastonbury Lake Village by Somerset County Council
Lake Village Museum by Glastonbury Online
The Glastonbury Well Gardens by Glastonbury Online
Gog and Magog, the last of the Druidic Oak Groves by Glastonbury Online
Glastonbury Tor by Glastonbury Online
Panorama View from Glastonbury Tor by Heather and Barry Hoon
Sunset and Sunrise Pictures of Glastonbury Tor by Isle of Avalon
Ley Lines from Glastonbury by Isle of Avalon
Glastonbury Ley Lines by Visit Glastonbury
The Josephean Nazarene Mission to Celtic Britain
Glastonbury, the first Christian Church by Straight Talk
Christ in Glastonbury by Delphos
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus by Mystic Realms
Early Christian Gravestones on the Island of Lundy by Mystic Realms
The Spread of Christianity to Britain by Mystic Realms
St. Patrick and the Irish Martyrs – Glastonbury Histories by Armine le S. Campbell
Celtic Villages of Mud and Wattle Construction
Building ‘model’ Residential Dwellings in the Holy Land by Monolith Designs
Building ‘model’ Wattle and Stick Residences by Monolith Designs
Building an Iron Age Residence by Trewern Outdoor Residential Centre
Bookstore in the UK
Mount Tabor and Glastonbury Tor – Type/anti-Type
Israel Slide Show by Zola Levitt Ministries
Mount Tabor interactive Tour by Mustard Seed
Mount Tabor by Franciscan CyberSpot
Holy Land Interactive Tour by Mustard Seed
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