And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Acts 6:7 (KJV)
Priests – Do you have all the facts? Are you sure it was the Jewish nation as a whole that sacrificed Christ? It seems to be the majority consensus, but is it true? Was the majority of the Jews against Yeshua? Christianity has been riding this wagon for a very long time. And for that reason we’ve separated ourselves from our roots because we don’t want to be associated with those people.
But we don’t have all the facts, do we? For instance this verse above declares that a great company of priests were obedient to the faith. It’s obvious this verse is talking about the people who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, and believed in the word of God (which at that time was only the Old Testament). We like to ridicule the Pharisees and scribes and often quote the verses where Yeshua rebuked them, but what about the priests nobody talks about?
Well for one, this group was no small number, it was a great company! A huge group of priests were obedient to the faith, and accepted Yeshua. Go figure. Who were those large multitudes that followed Yeshua around daily? The majority were Jews! And let’s not forget the conversation between Nicodemus and Yeshua from John 3. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisee sect, came to Yeshua by night and declared in verse 2 that “we” knew that Yeshua was a teacher from God. There were obviously many in the Pharisaic sect that accepted and agreed with Yeshua’s teachings and knew that God was with Him. In fact, many scholars have written about how close Yeshua’s teachings were inline with the common Pharisaic theology.
It was the Sadducees that were often times at odds with Yeshua. It was them that were concerned with losing their power over the people. We need to understand the difference between the Sadducees and Pharisees, we need to realize the difference in their theologies, and their order within the culture. Without this, we don’t have all the facts, and we wrongly accuse a nation. You see, the Sadducees were very hellenized and influenced by Greek philosophy. They were the ones deeply intertwined with the ruling Roman government. They were corrupted.
The Pharisees also had problems no doubt. There are a couple areas in the Gospels where Yeshua rebukes them. But isn’t rebukement a sign of God’s love for His people? Was Yeshua condemning them or was He desperately trying to get them to see their flaws and return to the original intent of the law?
Regarding the scribes and Pharisees, Yeshua clearly directs us “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do” in Matthew 23:2. So we’re to obey these Pharisees? Yes! But only when they are speaking from the seat of Moses. This was a seat in every synagogue where the Torah was read aloud to the people. So basically when the Pharisees sat in that seat and read the Torah, we are to observe everything they read, yes even all the laws. This is so interesting because Yeshua wasn’t seeking to take away their power, or authority, but rather return us to the intended purpose of both their positions and ours in the community. We are a body… a single body working together for the glory of God.
So where do you stand? Do you declare that the Jews have been replaced (this is called replacement theology), or do you see that many Jews actually believed in Yeshua and accepted His teachings. Do you realize that Yeshua himself was a Jew of the tribe of Judah. Paul also was a Jew and boldly claimed his title of Pharisee to his death. James, Peter, and John, and the others were also Jews who kept the law and followed Yeshua. The majority of the early “church” were Jews. They weren’t people who converted to a new religion, they remained as Jews and still went to the Synagogue every Sabbath. This is the intended structure of the “church”, not this mainstream divided body. We are a part of Israel, we are one body.