WHO I AM
My name is Daniel Lee. I was brought up as a non-denominational, Protestant Christian. The particular branch of Protestantism that I grew up with was the Charismatic branch (believed in the Scriptures as Truth and also believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit). It was basically a non-denominational form of Pentecostalism.
For those of you not familiar with all the branches of modern Christianity, I’ll make it real simple. You can divide Christianity into two main groups: The Roman Catholics and the Protestants. There are a few other minor groups, such as the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Celtic Church in Britain and the Eastern Orthodox Church in the east. However, these last three are very similar to the Roman Catholic Church in many ways. So, in reality, there are really only two main segments of Christianity: Protestants and Catholics.
Over the last several years my eyes began to open, and I began to realize that the Protestant faith that I had been taught and raised in DID NOT reflect Scripture nor did it reflect what Jesus Christ (YahShua ha Mashiach) actually taught.
THE 1ST CENTURY BELIEVERS
Ready for a BRIEF history lesson? Here it goes. YahShua ha Mashiach was raised in a ghetto town in northern Israel known as Nazareth. Thus, when YahShua began ministering, the disciples who followed Him called themselves Nazarenes -- Netzarim (in no way related to the modern day denomination). According to the Renewed Covenant (Christian New Testament), YahShua taught his disciples how to correctly keep the Torah (the laws and ordinances given to Moses from the Hebrew Creator, YHVH). Matthew 5:17-21 makes it clear that YahShua in NO WAY did away with the Torah or Mosaic Law. Rather, He came to show the Jews how to correctly interpret and keep the Torah. Many of the Rabbis and Jewish leaders had added man made traditions and twisted the Torah. YahShua came to restore BOTH the Spirit and Letter of the Torah.
YahShua WAS NOT a Christian. He was not a western, gentile. He was not an American. YahShua was a Hebrew, Kosher, Rabbi who kept the letter and spirit of the Torah. Not only did YahShua teach the 10 commandments, He taught the roughly remaining 590 commandments in Torah as well. Not only did YahShua teach people to love YHVH with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and their neighbor as themselves, but HE ALSO taught people to eat kosher (only eat clean animals), wear tzit-tzits (Numbers 15), keep the Sabbath on the 7th day (Luke 4:16), keep the Hebrew Feast Days (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and the Last Great Day), and keep all the other laws and ordinances found in the Torah. YahShua Himself, since he was a kosher Jewish Rabbi, HAD to keep all these commandments (or He would never have been allowed inside a synagogue). His disciples emulated YahShua, and also kept the Torah even as YahShua kept it.
Shortly after YahShua was nailed to the tree, died and then resurrected, the disciples began to go out across Judea, Samaria and the Roman Empire, preaching and teaching others what YahShua taught. These early followers were NOT called Christians. The term Christian was not introduced until much later in Antioch and was used as a derisive name for the followers of THE WAY. They called themselves Nazarenes, or followers of THE WAY. These Nazarenes, KEPT ALL THE BIBLICAL CUSTOMS OF THE JEWS and differed from the Jews only in that they believed YahShua was the prophesied Jewish Messiah.
For the next 40 years, the Nazarenes lived with the other Jews in relative peace. In fact, the ONLY place where the Nazarenes were unable to live with the Jews in peace was in Jerusalem, where much of the Jewish hierarchy persecuted the early Nazarenes. However, everywhere else the Nazarenes made much headway in converting even the top priests of the Jews (see book of Acts). The followers of YahShua kept Torah, ate kosher, kept the Feast Days, wore the tzit-tzits, kept the New Moons, preached that both Jew and Gentile could be grafted into Israel, attended synagogue on Sabbath (Acts 15:21) and did many of the other things Jews did, and they ALSO worshipped YahShua as the Jewish Messiah.
However, unlike many of the Jews, the Nazarenes did NOT uphold Talmud or oral tradition above Torah. (see book of Galatians).
As you can probably see, these 1st century Nazarenes who kept Torah did not look at all like what modern Christians do today. So, what happened? Where did Christianity come from? And what happened to the Nazarenes, the original followers of YahShua?
THE EARLY CHURCH “PAGAN” FATHERS
Well, for the next two hundred years, the Roman Empire tried to destroy the Nazarenes. Because they refused to give allegiance to the Roman Emperor, the Roman government sought to eradicate the Nazarenes. However, the more they were persecuted, the more the Nazarenes would multiply and thrive. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there were several prominent Greek pagan philosophers who were impressed by the martyrdom of the Nazarenes. Many of these Greek pagan philosophers decided to convert and become Nazarenes. However, some of the Greek pagans DID NOT shed their pagan sun god worship and other pagan philosophies, and thus tried to incorporate them into the Nazarene faith. Many of the so called “early church fathers” (Justin the Martyr, Barnabus, Iraneus, Origen) were merely pagans who decided to call themselves Nazarenes but REFUSED to shed their paganism. Many of these early church fathers HATED Jews and tried to do everything they could to convince Nazarenes to abandon anything Jewish --- INCLUDING YAHSHUA’S COMMANDMENTS! Justin the Martyr attacked any Nazarene who kept Sabbath because he thought it was "too Jewish”.
For the most part, however, the Nazarenes continued to flourish and keep Torah, differing from the Jews very little with the exception that they worshipped Yahshua as the Messiah and did not elevate Talmud over the Torah. Only in Alexandria and Rome did the pagan Greeks succeed in convincing Nazarenes to begin abandoning the Torah. Everywhere else, especially throughout Israel and Asia, the Nazarenes continued to keep Torah and worship Messiah.
However, in the 4th century, something disastrous happened to the Nazarenes. This disaster was a very wicked Roman Emperor by the name of Constantine. Constantine said: “Hey, for the last 300 years we have tried to destroy the Nazarenes and they just keep multiplying. So, if we can’t beat them, we’ll join them!”
In 325 CE, Constantine called all the bishops across the land to the Council of Nicea. At this council, Constantine decided to meld pagan Roman sun god worship with the Nazarene Way. Constantine, hating Jews himself, began to filter out all the Hebrew qualities within the Nazarene Way.
He made it illegal for Nazarenes to keep Sabbath, and actually moved the Sabbath day to Sunday, the day the pagans venerated the sun god! This pleased the pagans greatly and they had no problem becoming a Nazarene if they could continue their pagan Sun-day worship. Constantine also made it illegal for the Nazarenes to keep Passover. He wanted Nazarenes to have nothing to do with the Jews. He thus moved Passover to a pagan feast day called Easter.
The word Easter comes from the name of Ishtar, the bare breasted goddess of fertility. The pagans loved this as well. Constantine also declared it illegal for Nazarenes to eat kosher, declaring that pig and shellfish and unclean meats were suitable to eat. This time period is also where the pagan idea of the Trinity originated. The early Nazarenes considered YHVH ONE Creator, echad. The Hebrew word echad means ONE Creator who possesses a plurality. The pagans loved the idea of the Trinity (three gods) as well.
When Constantine made this new hybrid religion law, the Nazarenes either compromised or fled underground. This amalgamation of pagan sun-god worship and the Nazarene Way formed the seed that would eventually grow into the Roman Catholic Church. Nazarenes fled and many were killed as the Roman Catholic Church grew in power and strength.
THE DARKNESS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Over the next 1000 years of darkness, the Roman Catholic Church grew more and more powerful, absorbing more and more paganism. It began to celebrate the Feast of Saturnalia, a pagan festival on 12/25, which celebrates the birthday of many of the pagan gods. They renamed this pagan festival Christmas. The Roman Catholic Church eventually split off from the Coptic Church and then the Greek Orthodox Church. However, all three of these were merely a mixture of paganism and the Nazarene Way. Meanwhile, the true Nazarenes met in underground caves and in mountains, or met the sword of the wicked Roman Catholic Church.
Finally, around the 1500’s, men within the Roman Catholic Church began to see just how PAGAN and filthy this religion was. The Roman Catholic Church murdered millions of people and looked nothing like what the Scriptures taught or what Yahshua instructed. These men, known as the Protestant Reformers, sought to reform the pagan Catholic Church and bring it back to Scriptural standards.
THE PROTESTANTS FAIL
But the Protestants failed. Many of the Reformers were Jew haters. Martin Luther despised Jews. John Calvin was a murderer. These men hardly reformed anything. All they did was replace a priest with a pastor, a cathedral with a church. They still kept all the pagan ways of the Roman Catholic Church (such as Sun-day observance, eating unclean foods, keeping pagan festivals like Easter and Christmas). In fact, the Protestants were even MORE wicked, because they used “grace” as a license to violate the Torah, to violate YHVH’s commandments.
For the next four hundred years, the Protestants began to divide and subdivide into more and more denominations, each trying to find the way back to the original Nazarene Way. However, they all failed. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and every other Protestant denomination merely became a harlot daughter of the mother whore, the Roman Catholic Church. Today, most Protestants treat Roman Catholics as fellow believers as these pagans join forces in the last days.
THE NAZARENES FINALLY RETURN
However, in the last 100 years or so, the Nazarenes have finally returned. The last recorded mention of Nazarenes was in the 13th century, as the last of them (according to recorded history) were killed by the Roman Catholics. The Nazarenes have always survived throughout the centuries, but have been "in hiding" (unlike the cultish teachings of the Jeohvah Witnesses and the Mormons who teach that all people with the truth were gone after the 1st century and did not return until an adulterer named Joseph Smith met the angel moron in the 19th century).
But now, the Nazarenes of the Way have returned to the spotlight. The Messianic Jewish movement, in large part, have helped facilitate this return. Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, are rediscovering their Hebraic roots and returning to the Torah. Many are leaving the pagan system of the Catholics and the Protestants and forming their own Messianic congregations and communities.
I am one of these people. As I said at the beginning, I was once a Protestant Christian. No longer. I am now a Torah observant Messianic. I am a Nazarene. I believe YahShua is the Messiah of Israel, but I also keep and observe the Torah. The Christians call me legalistic and say that I am “under the law”. The Jews call us thieves and say we are trying to steal their traditions. However, we are merely living out the manner of life YahShua told us to live: to keep the Torah, ALL of the Torah, through His blood and indwelling Spirit.
YahShua said that before He returned, He would restore all things. Truly, with the Nazarenes emerging once again, the end of the age is upon us. Jews, who have kept the Torah (but have missed the mark with their vain oral traditions) for centuries, are beginning to trust in YahShua as their Messiah. And Christians, who have loved YahShua (but have missed the mark by rejecting the Written Word -- Torah) for centuries, are now beginning to keep and follow Torah. Both Jews and Christians are coming out of pagan Christianity and pagan Judaism, becoming one in Messiah as they keep Torah together. Truly, the restoration of all things is upon us.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW???
What about you, oh sinner? Are you a pagan Christian who even now continues to break His commandments (the Torah)? Or perhaps you are not a Christian and you could care less about church. Do you think your eternal punishment will be any less, merely because you have not decided to investigate the Truth? Whether you are religious or not, it is time to repent of all your sin (disobedience to the commands found in Scripture) and to START keeping these commandments.
The only way you can obey the Torah properly is by YahShua’s Ruach ha Kadosh (Holy Spirit). The only way to get His Holy Spirit is to come before Him humbly in prayer, admit that you are a sinner deserving everlasting punishment, and ask the Messiah to cleanse your sin stained heart with His blood. You must agree NEVER TO SIN again. You must agree NEVER to hurt the Messiah again by living selfishly. Then, you must ASK HIM to help you obey His commands. If you are sincere, He will flood you with His Holy Spirit. You will have a power WITHIN you to keep His commandments. Serving Him will be a delight and a joy! Getting totally immersed in water, baptism, is then an outward sign of your internal choice. Keeping Torah will continue to be outward signs to the world of your internal change.
Remember the words in I John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of YHVH doth not commit a single transgression of the law; because His seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of YHVH.”
When you are TRULY converted, you WILL NEVER SIN AGAIN!!! You will never knowingly transgress the law, or the Torah again!!! You become sinless and completely obedient. This does not mean you don’t have room to grow; it simply means you have a pure heart. A true Nazarene would rather die than sin. A true follower of YahShua no longer sins, but obeys what His Master tells him to do. How about you, oh sinner? Will you become born again? Will you lay down your sin and pick up His commandments?
Only those who keep His commandments will have right to the tree of life. Today is the day of salvation. The Messiah is returning soon and if He returns and you are living like a sinner, He will cast you into the Lake of Fire forever. Wake up. The time of His mercy is almost over.