In the last half of the 20th Century, we have witnessed religous "revivals" among two Biblical faith communities. Although there is no longer any great media focus on these religious movements, which appear to be two sides of one coin, such as there was during the late 1960s and early to mid 1970s, they continue on in a less intense way .

The first expression is the so-called BA'AL TESHUVAH movement which saw many third and fourth generation assimilated and acculturated young Jews "return" to the Orthodox faith of their immigrant ancestors. Many of these people had been involved in the hippie and other counter-culture movements of the 1960s and had emerged from these movements un-fulfilled and disappointedthat they had not brought the "Revolution", that is, the secualr version of what Judaism calls the Messianic Era, or what both Judaism and Christianity have traditionally called the Kingdom of Heaven.

The second expression was the Jesus movement, designed to capture the souls of the young non-Jewish members of that same counter culture dropout generation. Yet within that very Jesus movement, there was also an outreach arm that began to address the same sub-group of young Jews who might have wound up as BA'ALEI TESHUVAH in Orthodox Judaism. This was the so-called "Messianic Jewish" movement which produced groups such as Jews For Jesus. These groups represented a new slick version of Christian missionary movements that had been in existence for several centuries and had been known, in this country, as Hebrew-Christianity.

The essential message of Hebrew-Christinaity is that the religion of Jesus Christ, in its Fundamentalist Protestant version, is in reality, the "purer", "more Biblical", "complete" Judaism, and that Jesus is the Jewish messiah, his disciples all good Jews, and his Church a wholly Jewish movement which also attracted and accepted gentiles within its body. The Jesus Movement embraced this new updated expression of Hebrew-Christianity and offered it leadership all resources, financial as well as other, at its disposal. It competed, and conintues to compete, with authentic Judaism for the minds and hearts of non knowledgable Jews.

The rationale of this essay, JESUS THE NAZARENE AND HIS JEWISH FOLLOWERS, is an attempt to show that any type of Christianity, including the so-called Hebrew-Christianity (Messianic Judaism) is not only inauthentic for Jews, but an impossible anachronism 2000 years after the fact.

The essay takes several things for granted as basic premises.
They are:

1. That there existed an historical person called Jesus the Nazarene who lived in Galilee during the early days of the Roman Empire.
2. That this individual had a highly religious nature and believed himself to be close to the G-d of his people, Israel.
3. That this individual had a charisma through which he attracted a small Jewish following as disciples.
4. That this group of disciples, which eventually became known as Nazarenes, looked upon their master Jesus as the messenger of G-d who would usher in the Kingdom of Heaven, and who would sit on the throne of the kings of Jerusalem as the earthly viceroy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
5. That as a Galilean, Jesus' saw his goal of establishing the Kingdom of G-d on earth as congruent with the goal of the so-called Zealots, i.e., the expulsion of the Romans from the Land of Israel and the establishment of the leadership of Israel over the nations of the world as a messianic peoplehood.
6. That Jesus was arrested by the Romans as an insurgent and rebel against Caesar, and executed as such by the orders of the military governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate.
7. That by dint of Jesus' charismatic personality, and due to various historical confluences, his surviving followers kept his memory alive and generated a belief in him as a still living messiah of Israel whose sect eventually attracted a large number of Jews and non-Jews, the latter eventually establishing a Church in the name of Jesus based upon their understanding of who he was and how he brought them salvation.
8. That the gentile understanding of Jesus differed from the understanding of his own Jewish followers to the extent that two separate belief systems evolved out of an original common belief in Jesus as a Redeemer of mankind.
9. That the ensuing historical circumstances of the Jewish people was such that it contributed to the final disappearence of the Jewish followers of Jesus, and cleared the way for the gentile Church to grow away from its original Jewish roots until it became a religion and faith community separate, distinct, and apart from that of Israel.
10. That in spite of the fact that the religion of Jesus uses the scriptures and religious language and symbolism of the Jewish Bible, and that it claims to worsip the G-d of that Bible, nevertheless, this religion has nothng whatsoever to do with the historical or current faith community of the Jewish People.

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