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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bar Kochba and the Christians

                               Bar Kochba and the Christians
                      (For use with the 'Israel' and 'JHVHNT' studies)
                                      (From the RDB Files)
 If the trinity (or just the deity of Jesus) had really been taught (or believed) by the first Christians, the schism between the Jews (who considered such a teaching "an unpardonable offense") and Christians would have been immediate, irrevocable, and incredibly intense. But that is not what caused the greatest and final split between the sect of the first Christians and the Jews. Nor is it what what caused Christians after 135 A.D. to rid themselves of "Jewish" aspects of the new religion (probably including the use of the Divine Name).
 "The Jewish belief that the parting of the ways came not at Stephen’s martyrdom but after Bar Kochba’s war against Hadrian [132-135 A. D.] is now gaining ground. Previously there had been no event sufficiently striking to sever the ties. Christians frequented the synagogues: they were still a Jewish sect. [See the ISRAEL study] But Bar Kochba was hailed by Aqiba as the Messiah. This the Christians could not condone and they stood aside. .... The Jews regarded the Christians as renegades: the Christians would not fight for Aqiba’s Messiah. The die had fallen and there was no recalling the past." - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 167, Vol. 13, 14th ed.
 Noted Christian Bible historian, Philip Schaff writes: " (A.D. 132-135). A pseudo-Messiah, Bar-Cochba (son of the stars, Num. 24:17), afterwards called Bar-Cosiba (son of falsehood), put himself at the head of the rebels, and caused all the Christians who would not join him to be most cruelly murdered." – p. 37, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995 reprint.
 It was the generation following the destruction of the Temple which brought about a final rupture between Jews and Christians .... In the third rebellion against Rome [132-135 A.D.], when the Christians were unable to accept bar Kochba as their Messiah, they declared that their kingdom was of the other world, and withdrew themselves completely from Judaism and everything Jewish. The alienation process was completed. Judaism and Christianity became strangers to each other .... A wall of misunderstanding and hate was erected by the narrow zealotries of the two faiths. [pp. 152, 153, Jews, God and History, Max I. Dimont, A Signet Book, 1962.]
 "Cochba [bar Kochba] ... tortured and killed the Christians who refused to aid him against the Roman army." - p. 42, Greek Apologists of the Second Century, Robert M. Grant, The Westminster Press, 1988.
"Another Christian apologist, Justin [Martyr], tells how ... Bar Kochba, the leader of the insurrection, ordered Christians alone to be executed if they would not deny and curse Jesus the Messiah." - Ibid.
"After the war the Jerusalem church, once Jewish, consisted only of Gentiles." - Ibid.
 Not everybody agreed to Aqiba's view that Simon [Bar Kochba] was the Messiah. The Jewish Christians refused to accept this claim; the Christian author Justin Martyr tells that Simon commanded Christians 'to be lead [sic] away to terrible punishment,' unless they denied Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and cursed the man from Nazareth (First Apology 31.6). - 
 L. Michael White:
[Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin]:
 The relationship between Judaism and Christianity after the turn of the second century would become more and more hostile as time went on partly because of other political forces that continued to develop. .... As a result within sixty years after the first revolt there would arise a new rebellion. We typically call this the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome or the Bar Kochba revolt. And it's named after a famous rebel leader who really becomes the central figure of this new political period. He's called Bar Kochba. .... His real name seems to have been Shimon Bar Kosova, and he probably was of a royal family of the Jewish tradition. But he takes to himself this messianic identity and claims that in the year 132 it is time for a new kingdom to be reestablished in Israel. Apparently he did take Jerusalem for some time. ...It's possible, although we're not absolutely sure, that he thought he could rebuild the temple too. But events would not let that happen.
The Romans very quickly began to put down the revolt and within three years all of those who had followed Bar Kochba were either killed or dispersed. ....
 The one thing that does happen in the second revolt, though, is [that] the self-consciously apocalyptic and messianic identity of Bar Kochba forces the issue for the Christian tradition. It appears that some people in the second revolt tried to press other Jews, including Christians, into the revolt, saying, "Come join us to fight against the Romans. You believe God is going to restore the kingdom to Israel, don't you? Join us." But the Christians by this time are starting to say, "No, he can't be the messiah -- we already have one." And at that point we really see the full-fledged separation of Jewish tradition and Christian tradition becoming clear.
"The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva convinced the Sanhedrin to support the impending revolt and regarded the chosen commander Simon Bar Kokhba the Jewish Messiah, according to the verse from Numbers 24:17: "There shall come a star out of Jacob" ("Bar Kokhba" means "son of a star" in Aramaic language).
"At the time, Christianity was still a minor sect of Judaism and most historians believe that it was this messianic claim that alienated many Christians (who believed that the true messiah was Jesus) and sharply deepened the schism." -
 Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum asserts that the "rift caused by the destruction of Jerusalem [70 C.E.] proved to be a temporary one, and a partial reconciliation did come about despite Hebrew Christian opposition to the new Judaism of the rabbis." p. 41, HEBREW CHRISTIANITY, Its Theology, History and Philosophy.
He also says that 132-135 C.E. was a key period, the 2nd Jewish revolt against Rome under Bar Kochba. When the revolt broke out, the Jewish Believers joined the revolt with their rabbinic brothers. However, Rabbi Akiva made the sad error of declaring Bar Kochba to be the Jewish Messiah. This is where the real rift occured. If anyone can be accused of turning Christianity into a Gentile religion, it is not Paul, nor the church leaders in Asia Minor, but rather Bar Kochba, according to Fruchtenbaum. - 
 [The] PBS "Frontline" program "From Jesus To Christ: The First Christians" is … steeped in Jewish history and Jewish concerns. The four-hour program [aired] Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7 [1998. Here are some of the issues covered on that program]:
 ".... The period after the First Revolt is dominated by an increasingly hostile relationship between Christians and Jews as the followers of Jesus move increasingly away from their Jewish roots. 'Part 3: Let The Reader Understand' examines this period, the creation of the four Gospels and the Second Revolt, led by Bar Kochba.
This is when a true split occurred, as Christians refused to join in the four-year struggle because Bar Kochba claimed he was the Messiah. After the Jews are crushed by the Roman army, Christianity begins to assert itself and accommodate the forces of the empire that killed its leader." -
 "Until the year 132, Christians considered themselves a sect of Judaism. In that year, Simon bar Kochba (Simon son of the star), was confirmed by the great Rabbi Akiba as the Messiah. bar Kochba was a great leader and warrior, and led a revolt of tens of thousands of Jews against the Romans (similar to recent conflicts in Chechnya, or Grozny.) The Christians, who would have been eager to fight the Romans, couldn't, because they already had a Messiah. This was the final split, where Christianity stopped being Judaism. .... By the 390's A.D., Galastria, Bishop of Galatia counted 156 different sects of Christianity, all blending the Christian story with local and tribal concepts. There were cults that believed that Jesus was a God when born, those that believed that he became a God later. Some believed that Jesus did not have normal bodily excretions, and those who worshiped Satan because they believed that serpent had won in the Garden of Eden. The confused and varied notions of what Christianity meant were consolidated by the growing concentration of power and centralization in Rome, in various councils, beginning in Nicea, in 325 A.D." -   
 "According to Eusebius' History of the Church 4.5.3-4: the first 15 Bishops of Jerusalem were 'of the circumcision'. The Romans destroyed the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem in year 135 during the Bar Kokhba Revolt." -
 "In 145 CE (ten years after the Bar Kochba Revolt) Justin Martyr wrote an apology in which he was having a dialogue with a Jew named Trypho. Using Bible proof texts, Justin Martyr claimed that the Jews were originally selected by God because they were such an unspiritual group; they needed added laws. He blasted the Jews for rejecting Jesus, for killing Jesus, for leading people away from salvation. He gloated over the destruction of the Temple as being just punishment for Jewish perfidy. Justin Martyr's writings became incorporated into early Christian thought, and were the origins of Christian anti-Semitism." -
 This is the time when Jewish customs (including the Passover) started to be 'cleansed' from the Church.  
 This is also the time when Christians had begun copying the Septuagint for their own OT use* (and probably removing the name of the 'Jewish' God from it). At the same time they would likely also have removed that only personal name of God (Ps. 83:18, KJV) from the NT scriptures.
 * "Jewish/Christian hostilities led to the abandonment of the LXX by the Jews and the production of new translations and revisions, since the Christians adopted the LXX for their own purposes in worship, teaching and apologetics" - The Influence of the LXX,
 "Starting approximately in the second century C.E., several factors led most Jews to abandon the LXX. Christians naturally used the LXX since it was the only Greek version available to the earliest Christians." - New World Encyclopedia 
 (An RDB File)

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