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The Jewish Roots of Chris­tia­nity

— A Landmarks of Faith Seminar —

Jewish Roots of Christianity Seminar

The Fertile Root:
Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Messiah

Booklet  See notes below.

Lecture #1a:

Or click here for more listening options at Internet Archive.

Jewish Roots of Christianity Lecture #1b ⇨


Lecture #1a Notes

The contradiction of Jewish Christianity: Mosaics at the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations).

Mosaic detail Church of All Nations
Mosaic detail
Church of All Nations
Romans 11:1: For I, too, am an Israelite, from the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 9:27: Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sands of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved.

Why should we care about the early Jewish Christians?

  • #1) Because God himself cares about the Jewish people.
  • #2) Because Jesus is Jewish.
  • #3) Because the New Testament is a Jewish Christian book.
  • #4) Because Christianity was originally a Jewish religion.
  • #5) Because even Gentile Christians are a part of what God is doing with Israel.

John 4:22: Salvation is from the Jews.

Acts 11:19: Those who were dispersed…made their way…speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.

The gospel was at first spread only to Jews in Phoenicia (Lebanon), Antioch (in Turkey), Cyprus, Asia Minor (Turkey), Greece, and Rome—as it says in the book of Acts; but also to Alexandria (in Egypt), Cyrene (in Libya), Edessa (in Syria), Persia (Iraq and Iran), and even to India in the East—as we know from history.

Eph. 2:12,19: Remember that you were at that time without Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise.... [but now] you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but you are fellow-citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.

Rom. 11:17: But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree...

Eph. 2:13-16: But now, in Messiah Jesus, you who once were far away [Gentile Christians] were made near by the blood of Messiah. For he himself is our peace, who made both [Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians] one, and destroyed the dividing wall..., the hostility between the two, in his flesh...that in himself he may create out of the two [Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians] one new means of the cross.


Acts 2:17: And it will be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.

Gal. 4:4: When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son.

Acts 1:8: When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will receive power, and you will be my witnesses.

Ex. 31:18: He gave Moses the two tablets of the witness.

Jer. 31:33: I will put my law in their inward parts, and on their heart I will write it

Rom. 3:31: Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law

Rom. 8:4: In order that the requirement of the Law [the Law of Moses] might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit

Acts 21:20: You see, brother, how many tens of thousands there are among the Jews who have believed, and they are all zealots for the Law.

Worship in the Temple:

  • Luke 24:53: And they were constantly in the Temple, blessing God.
  • Acts 2:46: Every day…spending a lot of time with one mind in the Temple
  • Acts 3:1: Peter and John were ascending into the Temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer
  • Acts 3:11: All the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s [in the Temple]
Temple in Jerusalem
Inner Courts of the Temple in Jerusalem
  • Acts 5:12: They were all with one mind in the Portico of Solomon
  • Acts 5:21: They entered about dawn into the Temple and were teaching
  • Acts 5:42: Every day…in the Temple...they did not stop teaching

Worship in synagogues:

  • Acts 9:2: ...letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found some who were of the Way
  • Acts 22:19: From synagogue to synagogue I was imprisoning and beating those who believe in you
  • Acts 17:2: ...where a synagogue of the Jews was. But according to the custom of Paul, he went in to them
  • James 2:2: For if a man in shining clothes with gold rings on his fingers enters into your synagogue...
  • Hebrews 10:25: ...not giving up our meeting [episynagogeen] together

The Way (in Hebrew, Ha-Derekh) was the first name used for Christianity by believers. A similar word is used in modern Judaism to describe the correct way to obey the Law (Halakha).

  • Acts 9:2: So that if he found some who were of the Way
  • Acts 19:9: But as some were becoming hardened...speaking evil of the Way
  • Acts 19:23: A commotion took place, and not a little one, concerning the Way
  • Acts 22:4: Who persecuted this Way to the death
  • Acts 24:14: According to the Way that they call a sect
  • Acts 24:22: Felix, since he understood the facts concerning the Way more accurately
  • 2 Peter 2:2: The Way of the truth will be slandered

Deut. 18:18-19: I will raise up [resurrect] a prophet for them from among their brothers like you [Moses], and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him.... The man that will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I will require it from him.

Matt. 5:17: Do not suppose that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fill them.


Acts 18:18: He [Paul] cut off the hair of his head in Cenchrea, for he was keeping a vow [a Nazirite vow; Num. 6]

Acts 20:6: We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread...

Acts 20:16: He [Paul] was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 16:8: But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost...

Acts 21:21: They have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs

Acts 21:24,26: Take them and purify yourself along with them...and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.... Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them...

Acts 25:8: I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the Temple.

Acts 28:17: I [have] done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers [the Law].

Acts 6:13-14: They put forward false witnesses who said, This man does not stop saying things against the Holy Place [the Temple] and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus, the Nazarene, will destroy this place and will alter the customs which Moses delivered to us [the Law].

Acts 16:3: Paul wanted this man [Timothy] to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts.

Gal. 5:2: If you receive circumcision, Messiah will be of no benefit to you

1 Cor. 7:18,20: Was anyone called who is circumcised [Jewish]? Do not remove the marks of circumcision. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision [a Gentile]? Let him not be circumcised.... Each in the calling in which he was called, let him remain in this [his calling].

Rom. 11:29: For the gifts and the calling of God are unchangeable.


Proselyte: a convert to Judaism.

The Laws of Noah: According to the rabbis, these were the laws given by God to all mankind: Seven laws are binding on the descendants of Noah: the establishment of courts of justice, the prohibition of blasphemy, of idolatry, of adultery, of murder, of robbery, and of eating the flesh cut from a living animal (Sanhedrin 56a:24).

Gen. 9:9: I myself establish my covenant with you [Noah] and with your descendants after you.

Gen. 9:16: When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look at it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature...

1) No Idolatry:

  • The 1st commandment: You will have no other gods besides me (Exo. 20:3)
  • The 2nd commandment: You will not make for yourself an shall not worship them or serve them (Exo. 20:4-5)

2) No Blasphemy:

  • The 3rd commandment: You will not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exo. 20:7)

3) No Adultery:

  • The 7th commandment: You will not commit adultery (Exo. 20:14)

4) No Murder:

  • The 6th commandment: You will not murder (Exo. 20:13)
  • Gen. 9:5-6: I will require your lifeblood...from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood will be shed.

5) No Robbery:

  • The 8th commandment: You will not steal (Exo. 20:15)

6) No Flesh from a Living Animal (flesh with the blood in it):

  • Gen. 9:4: You will not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood

7) Create Governments to Maintain Order:

  • Gen. 9:6: Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed (Implies human courts to try and execute murderers).

Godfearer (or Fearer of Heaven, Righteous Gentile, Son of Noah): Any Gentile who is willing to live according to the Laws of Noah.

Rom. 3:29: Is God only the God of the Jews? Is he not also the God of Gentiles? Yes, also of Gentiles.

Lev. 11:7: It will be unclean to you

Rom. 14:14: I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing [he’s talking about food] is unclean in itself.

1 Cor. 7:19: Circumcision [being a Jew] is nothing, and uncircumcision [being a Gentile] is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

Different laws for different people: men and women, priests and Levites, kings, children, married and single, Jews (the ezrachim) and Gentiles (the gerim)

Gal. 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you all are one in Messiah Jesus.

Eph. 4:4,7,15-16: One body and one Spirit.... But grace was given to each of us individually, according to the measure of Messiah’s gift to each of us.... from whom the whole, as a result of the divine action corresponding to the measure of the gift given to each individual part, making the growth of the body result in its being built up in love

Copyright © 2014-15, 2019-2020 by Jeffrey J. Harrison.
Many of the Scripture verses quoted have been translated or modified by the author to bring out details of the original Greek or Hebrew text. Otherwise: Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright the Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.
Unattributed photos are by the author. All rights reserved.