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The Forgotten History of Apostle Paul and the Ebionites

Updated on December 27, 2014

During Christianity's Infancy Years

In the infancy of Christianity, followers of Jesus were Jewish. They were known as the Ebionites. Many of these Ebionites (before the death of Christ) were also known to the Jewish community as the Nazarenes. After the death of Jesus, it was an Ebionite man and biological brother to Jesus Christ, James that continued on with Christ messages. Some believe the Gospel of Hebrew was written by James, who is also referred as, James the Just. However, no one is entirely for sure if he did or did not write the Gospel, and indeed, many scholars think that the Hebrew Gospel was actually written by the Apostle Paul.

The Ebionites believed that in order to be a Christian, you first had to be Jewish. They were strict about wanting a Judeo-Christian co-existence in their fellowship. As the head of Christ's church in Jerusalem, James was very much in favor of this idea, and even at one point challenges the Apostle Paul on this issue as told to us in Acts. In one of his declarations, James tells the Gentile men they have to be circumcised in order to be a part of Jesus' following. St. Paul of course rejected this idea, and at that moment Christ's followers became deeply divided into two main groups.

Paul's rebuttal to this ideology was that he felt Christ's message was for everyone, even the Gentiles whether they were circumcised or not. Therefore, since Israel was a Jewish nation the other apostles of Christ thought it best to let James control Judea's worshipers, and to let Paul go East to preach to the Gentiles. As for the Jewish citizens residing in Judea, the only differences between one Hebrew person from their neighbors, was the belief in Jesus Christ to be the son of God. Those who leaned towards the view points of the traditional Sanhedrin, were known to be Zionists.

Zionists believed the prophetic vision of Isaiah wholeheartedly, and truly believed that the Messiah would appear here on earth, by directly coming from heaven in a chariot of fire, with one purpose, and that purpose was to smite all wicked sinners, right were they stood. However, many of the Zionists did considered Christ to be a prophet of God. He accompanied a host of revered prophets such as that of; Melchizedek, Daniel, Enoch, and Ezekiel.

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, (around Khirbet Qumran in 1947-1956) religious scholars were forced to rethink the humble beginnings of Christianity. They were forced to re-evaluate the core of the fellowship to its earliest known origin, and try to access the situation from the place in which they became so divided. For a thousand years, the original positioning of most biblical scholars, was that the original break between the two sects, came much later than it actually had. It really wasn't until the scrolls were uncovered, did we found out that the truth of the matter. Which was that the divide between being Jewish or not, came swift from the very beginning in Christianity. One might even go so far as to realize that the break up between Christians, was literally a power struggle between two stubborn minded men, St. Paul and St. James.

What many Christians today do not realize is that many of the early Christian symbols, were Jewish in origin. Take the symbol of the fish, which is known to modern-day Christians as a symbol of Christianity, was actually first used by the Ebionites. It was their sign they used to mark cave locations, letting other Ebionites know where the safe places of worship were located. It symbolized a call to worship, and it guarded against intruders such as the Roman guard, or Sanhedrin guards.

Sibling of Jesus

St. James, brother of Jesus
St. James, brother of Jesus

James the Just

James was the blood brother of Christ. He was also a very proud Jew and pragmatic leader. He was consider a warrior to some, and to the Romans..., a dangerous idealist and potential terrorist. Everyone would agree that James was not a pacifist like Christ, but rather, James was proud to take up arms in order to fight in his brother's name. This might come as a surprise to some, however James' Jewish ancestry holds the answer key. He believed in the old tribal ways of his communal ancestry and followed the literal letter of Torah law. An eye for eye and a tooth for tooth is how he led. He honored his religion faithfully, and often he fought back against the Roman dictatorship in the name of justice, just for the principal of it. He was no different than any other Hebrew in that day, in that, James felt persecuted and enslaved by Roman rule.

Because of these characteristics, James was a wanted man by his Roman oppressors, and the Roman authority wanted nothing more than for James to be dead. At one point in his life, James actually had a bounty on his head. With the discovery of some new archaeological findings, they have suggested that it was James, and a party Ebionite followers, who Saul the Taurus was tracking down that day on the road to Damascus, when he was blinded by the light of God, and he changed his name from Saul to Paul.

A Line From The Gospel of Thomas

Here's an interesting line in the Gospel of Thomas:

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus' disciples ask, “We know you’ll leave us. Who’ll then rule over us?”

Jesus then answers them; “Where ever you arrive, go to James who is righteous because of whom, even heaven and earth came into existence; and, now tell me- to whom do I resemble?”

Of course that answer would be he resembled his brother James..., and not just physically either.

Saint Paul the Apostle
Saint Paul the Apostle

How Jesus and Paul Communicated

Paul never personally met Jesus. He did not know Jesus like the other disciples of Christ did. Moreover, Paul never spoke to Jesus Christ personally like James had. Christ spoke to Paul through visions and messenger angels.

Pauline Doctrine

Before that day on the road to Damascus, Paul was a bounty hunter for the Romans. His job was tracking, finding, and arresting followers of Christ to bring before the Roman Pontiff for persecution. He made his living this way. It is highly likely, that many of Paul's captives were sold back to the Romans, to later died in the Roman games at the Colosseum.

However despite that fact, the Pauline Doctrine is the bases of traditional Western religious dogma. It is the core of the Roman Catholic faith. In Paul's writings he is very detailed on all matters of the church, much like the five books of Moses are the bases of Judaism belief system. It is from these pieces of parchment scripted by Paul's own hand, which eventually St. Peter and St. John embraced as righteous doctrine and narrated over and over to their followers, while they too help spread the word of Christ. His letters, thus his doctrine helped form and establish the cornerstones of Christian faith.


Pauline epistles, some thirteen or fourteen letters in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, are believed by scholars to have been written by Paul directly.

You can find them in order on Wikipedia.com.

Learn Church History

  • Approximately 97% of the world’s Christians believe and follow the Pauline Doctrine. Moreover, over seventy-five percent of Christians lack the basic knowledge stated here in this article. That is a disgrace, but whose at fault?
  • As a lover of Jesus Christ, and once ousted Sunday school teacher for teaching my students that Luke was a Greek physician, I personally believe that there are many details to Christianity that should not be ignored. However, through the centuries Christians are still denied exploration into our beautiful religious history. What are they afraid we are going to find?
  • Don't ever be afraid to free your mind, and explore Christianity's amazing history! Make it fun and exciting.

Comments

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  • profile image

    historical-jesus 

    6 years ago

    Hi. I was just wondering where you got the information that James was considered as a warrior. I've read the Panarion, Eusebius, Hegessipus, Clement etc who mention James, but there's no tradition of a warrior there. I also wrote about the Ebionites in my book. Anyway, nice hub. Pop over and check mine out sometime.

  • profile image

    Al 

    6 years ago

    Valid point. The Quran gave me all the answers I was looking for. I know know Jesus much more than what I have been told throught Churuch.

  • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

    Julie Grimes 

    7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Yes you are correct. I just recently wrote a hub called the Jewish Advisor to Apostle Paul. I need to rework this hub.

  • lambservant profile image

    Lori Colbo 

    7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    Hello, very interesting hub, though I have to agree with some of the others about the gospel of Thomas. Also, the book of Hebrews is not a Gospel book. Even though it is about Jesus, the gospels are eyewitness accounts, they tell the story of Jesus ministry here on earth as they witnessed it.

    In Phil. 3:5 Paul declares: "I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law." Yes, he was a Roman citizen but he was a jew by blood (I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin) and as the Phillipians verse says, he was raised a jew. He was taught by Gamaliel. I wonder, if Saul/Paul was not a jew, then why did Gamaliel take him into his charge and school him in the law? Saul was a pharisee. Pharisees were not gentiles, they were jews. Gentiles were scum to the Pharisees, to the Jews in general. May I ask what other hub you were referring to when you responded to Loan consultant? I would like to see more of your hubs. I appreciate your hard work, but I will say, Wikipedia is really not an accurate source for this subject. Their sources, as they will often say, may not be accurate and they welcome more accurate or current information.

    Nonetheless, you have given me some things to think about and I thank you for an interesting hub.

  • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

    Julie Grimes 

    7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Mdh you clearly do not have a higher education in this subject. So i don't think it was necessary to post your response. Provide facts to your response, then it would be posted. But opinions are like butt cracks, we all have one.

  • profile image

    stepheny 

    7 years ago

    I found this website:

    islam bible.com

    and its very interestig, one must read and reason

  • profile image

    Bruce Daley 

    8 years ago

    Another error in the bible is that Paul/Saul was on his way to Damascus. This does noot make sense since Damascus was in another province and a Roman governor would never sent a "hitman" into another territory unless authorized by Rome. Secondly, Qumram (the actual target) was a fortress/monestery of the Jews and 27 km from Jereuslam.

    I believe, in the dead sea scrolls, James was stoned but was helped and escaped to Jerico, though seriously injured.

  • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

    Julie Grimes 

    8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Oh my...,no he was not. This is what I'm talking about in my other hub.

    Google it hon.

    Thank God for google.

  • TheLoanConsultant profile image

    TheLoanConsultant 

    8 years ago from Orange County

    With all due respect IntimatEvolution,Paul was a Hebrew! He was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin & a Hebrew of the Hebrews and as touching The Law, a Pharisee. Romans 11:1 & Phillipians 3:5

  • GreyMoon profile image

    GreyMoon 

    8 years ago

    Interesting hub. Although beside mentioning Wikipedia.com, it seems rather lacking in source referencing. A couple of (in which) s which I am sure are purely typos.

    And not an awful lot of "dirt" if you mean "dirt" in the contemporary sense of the word.

    B+ :)

  • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

    Julie Grimes 

    8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    It is such a delight to have you comment on this hub.

  • cheaptrick profile image

    cheaptrick 

    8 years ago from the bridge of sighs

    Hello IntimateEvolution,Very good information.First I'd like to point out that the Gospel of Thomas was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were All dated to the same time as the twenty seven books of the canonical bible not 200 or 300 years latter.Also The man Jesus is not the focus of the Scrolls,it is the AEON Christ,Jesus was the vehicle.The first Scrolls were discovered in 1945 and Acquired in 1947.I practice Christian Gnosticism which existed from the very beginning.There were many variations,valentinians,Mandaeans,Carpocrations,Hermetics, and Essenes to mention a few.Paul taught in the tradition of the Gnostic schools of thought as evidenced in his severe letters to the Churches in Asia minor and his knowledge and quotations of Torah.

    I say this with respect and admiration for the work you have done.Thank you

    Dean

  • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

    Julie Grimes 

    8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Good question.

  • OpinionDuck profile image

    OpinionDuck 

    8 years ago

    IE

    I like the history even if I don't believe it for what you do.

    BTW, here is a thought, because Jesus was born as a human, what would his DNA match. It had been thousands of years since Adam and Eve and the people that were living at his birth had different DNA than them What DNA would God choose for Jesus?

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 

    8 years ago

    IntimatEvolution, Very informative interesting hub! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

  • RevLady profile image

    RevLady 

    8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

    Interesting material here. I agree with points made by egallagher2k, but appreciated you sharing your understanding as well. Gives me added ideas to contemplate during my Bible studies.

    Blessings,

  • egallagher2k profile image

    egallagher2k 

    8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

    Interesting article. I like to read all points of view. It should be pointed out, however, that the Gospel of Thomas is widely considered a Gnostic writing meaning it was most likely written 200 or 300 years after the life of Christ. The Gospel itself is not widely accepted by Christians. I mention this because your reference to "go to James". It is most obvious and accepted that Jesus Gave the "keys" to his church on earth to Peter, not James.

  • Sanctus Vesania profile image

    Sanctus Vesania 

    9 years ago

    >>(excluding Morons and Gnostics)

    Did you mean, 'Mormons'?

  • Jerami profile image

    jerami 

    9 years ago from Houston tx

    very intresting.I like it; Twins ? like you say, WHY NOT!

    "whom I resemble" not challenging but where can I find that. I like thinking outside the box that We were put in.

working

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