Sid: I have to tell you the last time I was in Israel Mishpochah I had lunch with my friend Bob Fischer who lives in Tiberias, Israel. I went through his book “Full Circle” and I read things in this book that I only wish I knew before a believer in Messiah. I only wish I knew this information in sharing the Messiah with not just Jewish people with all people, its mind blowing. He’s done research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and on the Judaism at the time that Yeshua walked in the flesh that very few people understand. I mean if anyone should understand it should be me. I’ve been a Jewish believer in the Messiah for over 30 years. But there is revelation in this book called “Full Circle.” As a matter of fact I have him on the phone right now, Bob Fischer where did you get the title “Full Circle?”
Bob: Well Sid it has two sources really, I believe that the modern day church with all of its problems of liberalism and the ordination of homosexual pastors and all of the rest it’s starting to fall apart. It’s lost a lot of membership over the years and that trend seems to be accelerating. As the Dead Sea Scrolls become translated and the church learns more and more about its Jewish Roots the people that are leaving the mainline church are having a longing to return to their Jewish Roots. So the concept of “Full Circle” is that it began as a very Jewish enterprise the church on Mount Zion. It evolved into where it is today through several iterations of the interjection of paganism and…
Sid: I imagine most Christian would be shocked and that’s the only word I could think of if they had a clue as to what the first church was like.
Bob: Oh, it was a wonderful church; it was Jewish you know it’s really quite amazing these people were Essenes, they were Nazarene Essenes. They had their roots in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and where they were found. But there were other Essenes all over the Galilee and all over Judaea.
Sid: You know I wasn’t aware of that I always thought of the Essenes as a radical sect that didn’t marry and just died off. But you bring out in your book that they were actually the largest group in Judaism.
Bob: Oh absolutely they were well certainly they had a group at Qumran. I’m guessing by the information that I’ve been able to research and from my own best estimates I’m saying that they were about 100,000 in strength at their peak. They were in affect the Vatican or what the Vatican is to the Roman Catholic Church. And out in the Galilee, and out in what is today modern Syria, and elsewhere where there were about 300,000 others and they were living a normal life. They followed the same theological understanding and worship practices as they did at Qumran, but they were normal people. They worked, they married, they had children and they worshipped God and they were waiting for their Messiah.
Sid: But the thing that’s so amazing to me is that I often wondered based, myself and you for that matter, I come from a traditional Jewish background and I know the Messianic expectations of traditional Judaism and how in the world we could make the leap from the traditional Jewish Messianic expectations to Jesus being the Messiah, that’s too big a leap. But as you showed the revelations we found in the Dead Sea Scrolls show that it not only wasn’t a big leap it was an easy leap for those that were of the Essene sect, s-e-c-t, that were in Judaism. But for those that perhaps are not that familiar of the Dead Sea Scrolls tell me about them.
Bob: It’s really quite amazing Sid they wrote down in the Dead Sea Scrolls a description of the Messiah who they were expecting. And they talked about first of all that He was divine, that He was part of the Godhead, a 3 part Godhead which was really astounding thing.
Sid: About how old are these Dead Sea Scrolls?
Bob: Ah, they were… they started write them in about 250 BCE and they finished writing them down pushing it right up about the time of Yeshua.
Sid: Okay, but you’re saying to me that in the Dead Sea Scrolls the Messianic expectancy was a triune God!
Bob: Absolutely and this came…
Sid: This mind blowing Bob!
Bob: It is mind blowing!
Sid: I mean you take 10 Jewish people and you say “Do you believe in the trinity or the triune Nature of God? And they’ll say “Absolutely not.” But you’re telling me the major sect within Judaism pre-Yeshua, pre-Jesus believed in it. How come this has been hidden from us?
Bob: Its amazing Sid I’ll tell you one even better than that. Back in the time frame of 500 BCE the mainline Jewish Sages in centrist Judaism, Hasidic Judaism, were teaching the Triune Godhead. And it was later written down in 3 books in about 200, they were actually teaching the concept of a triune Godhead; I’ve written all about this.
Sid: So why don’t we hear anything about this thing about it in Judaism today. If we hear anything we hear that that’s the difference between Christianity and Judaism. Christianity believes in a triune nature of God, or the trinity and Judaism believes in the Shema, one God!
Bob: Now well that’s oh boy that’s a whole bunch of good questions in one. First of all modern day Judaism evolved from one of major sects from the time of Yeshua the Pharisees. The Pharisees had a totally different view of the Messiah they had the same view of Messiah that was handed down, into modern day rabbinical Judaism. That is to say that He would be a prophet, a priest and a king that would come and solve all of the problems of the world. He would bring peace, but there was nothing about his nature that would be atoning. The Essenes had a totally different idea they were looking for an atoning…
Sid: But wait wait the Pharisees and the Essenes had the same Torah, the same Bible how did they come up with different views?
Bob: Well, they simply had them from the very beginning. Out of mainline Judaism at the beginning of the time of Yeshua there were 3 sects broke off of from mainline Judaism, or mainline Judaism evolved into 3 sects:
- The Sadducees
- The Pharisees
- The Essenes
Sid: Okay anyone that’s read the New Testament knows that about the Sadducees, knows about the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the ones that Jesus was having a lot of trouble with as I recall. No one knows about to speak of the Essenes, why don’t we for simplicity sake take these 3 branches of Judaism one at a time and find out what they believe. Why don’t we start out with I always heard it was explained the Sadducees were very sad because they didn’t believe in the supernatural. Is that why they were sad?
Sid: And they got their name Sadducees?
Bob: Three different characteristics Sid let’s talk about the understanding of the nature and substance of the Godhead.
Bob: The Sadducees saw God as being uninterested in human affairs and therefore unwilling to intervene but there isn’t any evidence that they saw the Godhead as anything other than an indivisible unity. Now as to the body of canonized scripture from the Sadducee point of view they only embraced the Torah that is the first 5 books. They rejected the remainder of the Tenach that is the Old Testament. They did this because Messianism was a major theme in both the prophets and the writings. And the Sadducees boldly cast aside any eschatological expectation that there would be salvational atoning Messiah who would eventually shoot forth from the house of David.
Sid: How about on something like the oral law or the Talmud would they believe in that?
Bob: Absolutely not, no, that was that was the Pharisees.
Sid: Okay they just believed in the first 5 books of the Old Testament nothing more, nothing less.
Bob: But even more important than that they had a view of heaven and hell that they actually had no view of heaven and hell. They believed that the soul died with the body, therefore they had no doctrine whatsoever after this life.
Sid: Now I know why they were named Sadducees!
Bob: They were very sad but the full understanding of the bodily resurrection….
Sid: Weren’t they real political?
Bob: They were quite political. They were the elite they came from the upper classes they provided most of the high priests. They were very much into the temple and when the temple went away in 70 so did they. They basically just disappeared.
Sid: They must have had a fierce fight with the Pharisees!
Bob: They had a terrible time with the Pharisees.
Sid: Now tell me a bit about the Pharisees.
Bob: Okay, let’s look at the Pharisees from the same cardinal points of view with respect to the nature and substance of the Godhead the Pharisees understood that Yahweh God is interested and very much involved in human affairs and He’s willing to intervene. But they also had the view that the Godhead was an indivisible unity so they shared that with the Sadducees. Only the Essenes had the view that it was a triune Godhead. With respect to the body of canonized scripture the Pharisees embraced the entire Tenach not just the first 5 books the Torah but they took in account, and really gave equal emphasis to the whole thing. But in addition to that they embraced what they call the Oral Law that they believed was handed down on Mt. Sinai to Moses at the same time the written Torah was. And it was ultimately written in written form in the Mishnah and the Talmud, but they give the Mishnah and the Talmud equal weight to the written Torah. The heaven and hell concept… this is really fascinating to me that the Pharisees held that for those that led a righteous life that was achieved through of righteousness they would go to heaven immediately. And for those that were unrighteous they would go to heal immediately but for those that were somewhere in-between they would have another opportunity they would be reincarnated into another body and have another shot at it if you will.
Sid: But that’s against Torah and we’re also out of time. But Mishpochah you really have to understand what the first church was like.