Did Jesus Really Start a New Religion?

No. 

That should be enough, but I guess I need to give a more detailed reason why the answer is no.

God gave us His commandments, rules, regulations and all sorts of laws. Generally, these are known as mitzvot. Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, or Old Covenant (I don’t say New or Old ‘Testament’ because a testament is a death document that comes alive when one of the parties dies, and a covenant is an agreement between two living parties. God made covenants, not testaments). After all, that’s all there was when He was teaching. There were no New Covenant writings until decades after His death and resurrection. So, what He taught was Jewish.

God told us what to do, and Yeshua showed us how it’s done. That’s all. What He taught, and the real reason He was accused of being rebellious and teaching “new” stuff, was because He taught us that God’s Word is more important than religion. His main target was not what God said, but the traditions of Men- religion. He was always in trouble with the ruling groups, which at that time in history were not sons of David and sons of Aaron, as God commanded should be in charge, but (for the most part) political “hacks” appointed by Rome. The King (Herod) and Cohanim (Priests/Pharisees) were teaching that people should follow the man-made traditions with precedence over what God said. The sad thing is that this hasn’t changed, even today. The Talmud is given more importance regarding daily activities than the Torah by some of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Worse than that, the so-called Christian religions (which are supposed to have been created by Yeshua’s teachings) are almost entirely composed of traditions and rites and ceremonies that are not in the Bible, with holidays that God did not command us to celebrate. What the Jews did wrong during Yeshua’s time, and what He was absolutely against, has been multiplied ten-fold by Christianity!

Yeshua did exactly what a good Jew should have done- lived Torah as it was written, and taught others to do so. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is so very much exactly what has been taught throughout the Tanakh- God sees the heart. David said it in Psalm 51, Isaiah said it, the prophets said it- God is not interested just in sacrifices or paying lip service to Him, He wants us to come to Him with a contrite heart. He wants us to feel the way we should, not just act correctly. That is what Yeshua taught: He said, “You have heard it said …..but I tell you….” and what He told us was to feel God’s love and righteousness, not just act correctly. Don’t just not commit murder: don’t even hate in your heart. Don’t just not commit adultery: don’t even lust with your eyes. These are hard teachings for humans, and exactly what God tells us He wants of us throughout the Tanakh. It’s Judaism in it’s purest form. More than that, it’s what anyone who worships God should be doing.

Yeshua taught Judaism as God wanted it- from the heart. The New Covenant promise (which, BTW, is not in the New Covenant writings, but in the Tanakh, Jeremiah 31:31, and also Joel) was that God would remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, and that He would write His Torah on our hearts. Yeshua taught that what mattered was what we felt in our hearts, not just what we did. He said follow God’s commandments and worship Him with all your heart, soul and might, and don’t follow these laws blindly just because you are told to do so. Basically, Yeshua wants us to not just walk the walk, but want to walk the walk and feel it; own it; let it fill you up and become it. 

That is Judaism- loving God and loving to love God, thereby wanting to please God. 

Religion teaches “do this or go to hell!” True, God teaches that, too (in a way) but not as a threat; indeed, as a request to live. God says in Ezekiel that the death of a sinner doesn’t please Him at all- in fact, He would much rather the sinner turn from his sin and live. That is what Yeshua taught.

Everything Yeshua taught was from God’s Word, it was purely the D’var Adonai (Word of God). He was not against the religious teachings, or even against the traditions, per se, but He was against when the traditions were given priority over God’s word.

Do you really think that teaching us to do what God says and not what men say is a different religion than Judaism? If so, you just don’t understand Judaism.

Read the New Covenant, but not King James or some other Gentile version- read a Messianic version (David Sterns “Jewish New Covenant” or “Complete Jewish Bible” is a good start) and get to know the Jewishness of the B’rit Chadashah (Good News). See for yourself if this guy Yeshua really is teaching something different.

Next post: How Can I believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?

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