Paul's writings show a marked divergence from Pharisaic Judaism and their teachings. They also, not surprisingly, are different from the views of the Nazarenes or Jewish Christians. The people most closely associated with Yeshua in his life formed the nucleus of the Nazarene movement. The members of this group attended the synagogue and considered themselves Jews. They were Nazarene Jews, just as others were Pharisaic Jews or Essene Jews. These first followers of Yeshua must have been opposed to Paul's arguments against the Torah and Jewish ceremonies and practices. Leading members of the Nazarenes were Peter and James, Yeshua's apostle and brother, respectively. This very James headed the Jerusalem Church or Council.
In the Epistle of James the conflict between the Jewish Nazarene movement and Paul's Gentile Christianity came to the fore. James ridiculed the Pauline concept that faith can substitute for good deeds and actions. The Book of Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians have several references to the growing conflict between Paul and James. Paul was summoned to Jerusalem again a second time after the Acts 15 council as we see in Acts 21 to explain to the Jerusalem Council his reasons for abolishing the requirements of circumcision and dietary restrictions for Jews. Up to that time it had been the decision and understanding of James and the Jerusalem Council that circumcision would no longer be imposed upon the non-Jews for their acceptance into the Israel of God and fellowship with Jews. But we find Paul going beyond this and abolishing the totality of the Law for both his Gentile followers as well as Jews.
Acts 21:21 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. (KJV)
Galatians 3 also bears witness to the differences Paul had with Peter about dietary observance. Following this confrontation, there is no evidence that the two men ever again resumed contact or friendly relations.
There are other documents which testify to Pauls alienation from the Nazarene sect. The Ebionites left literature which is contained in what is called, the Pseudo-Clementine Writings.These Pseudo-Clementine writings are some of the few writings we have today that preserve the actual message and gospel of Jesus as taught by his earliest disciples and apostles and they were preserved because they were falsely attributed to Pope Clement. Actually, the core of these writings is Jewish Christian or Ebionite stemming from second century Syria.
Inasmuch as the Ebionites were a direct link to the Jerusalem Church, and, therefore, to Yeshua, their records would seem to be of great historical value. The earliest writings of this sect were about two centuries prior to those of most of the Church Fathers and therefore, closer in time to Paul and Yeshua. The Church Father, Irenaeus, in his book Against Heresies attacked the Nazarenes as heretics under the name of Ebionites (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, I. XXVI 1-2). The word Ebionites in Hebrew is evyonim which means poor people. It is another name by which the Nazarenes or Jewish Christians were called. This means that most of the Gentile Church Fathers attacked Jesus and his church!!!! [THINK]!
The Ebionite manuscripts cast light on Paul's life and provide much insight into his motivations, actions, and doctrines. The Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate from the Law who had perverted Yeshua's teachings by claiming that Yeshua had abrogated the Torah and that the Law had ceased and passed away and only one need "faith only."
Answer for yourself: Did you notice that this account by the first Jewish Christians who were followers of Yeshua sure is different from the picture of Paul given to us in the Greek Scriptures which were provided to us by Roman Gentiles in Rome?
Furthermore, the Ebionites asserted, Paul had violated Nazarene beliefs by transforming Yeshua into a deity. In the Ebionite documents Peter accused Paul of spreading lies about him by saying he opposed the Torah Peter also claimed that Paul knew nothing about Yeshua's teachings. The contention between Paul and James and Peter, alluded to in the canonical books of the New Testament (Acts, Epistles to the Galatians and of James and Jude), is affirmed in the Ebionite documents.
In an Arabic document, discovered by Shlomo Pines, an Israeli scholar, the Ebionite allegiance to the Torah is reiterated as is their belief in Yeshua as a human prophet. It also expressed "strong opposition to Paul as the falsifier of Yeshua's teachings" (H. Maccoby, The Mythmaker, p. 181). This Arabic document is from the tenth century. Pines was able to demonstrate that a section in it had been incorporated from a Jewish Christian source stemming from about the fifth century.
This accords well with views of contemporary scholars. The Book of Acts tried to patch over the differences between Peter and Paul and to show Peter as moving towards Paul's anti-Torah views. In reality this is not the case. We have today archeological evidence to the contrary! There really is no convincing proof that Peter, who was the apostle to the Jews, ever departed from the Nazarene position which held that Yeshua was a human Messiah and remained loyal to his Jewish faith.
The fourth century Church Father, Epiphanius, preserved the Ebionites' attack on Paul. Epiphanius quoted them as saying Paul was of Greek parentage, that he came to Jerusalem and fell in love with the daughter of the High Priest For this reason he converted to Judaism. When he was rejected, he turned against circumcision, the Sabbath, and the Law (Epiphanius, Panarion, XXX as cited in H. Schonfield, Those Incredible Christians, p. 155).
This story repeated by Epiphanius two centuries after it was written by the Nazarenes (or Ebionites), explains many characteristics of Paul: his limited knowledge of the Torah, his hostile statements about Jews and Judaism, and his affinity to, familiarity with, and greater comfort in working among, Gentiles. Paul's theology showed the influence of Hellenistic concepts and at the same time, a rejection of fundamental Jewish teaching.
In his religious precepts Paul was no closer to the Nazarenes than he was to the Pharisees even though he recognized that his mission originally emanated from the former and he claimed in his letters that his roots were imbedded in the latter.
Answer for yourself: Now can you understand why we at Bet Emet ministries endeavors so diligently to uncover the lies given to us under the disguise of Yeshua and Gentile Christianity?
The bottom line is this if you really want to follow Yeshua then much of Paul needs to be rethought in light of what Yeshua really believed and taught, because much of what passes for the Gospel from Paul is his attempt to get personal satisfaction against the Jews which rejected him. Much of Paul's gospel is lies that can be verified beyond any doubt today by serious study. We are so fortunate today to be aided by archeology and the ability to obtain such information that was beyond the means of such study as little as two centuries ago. Today we are richly blessed by God that we can know the truth about Paul. Shalom