The Yahushaic Covenant Volume 1



Excerpt from

The Yahushaic Covenant Volume 1
by Rav Sha'ul

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Who are the Nazarenes?

by Rav Sha'ul

The emergence of the Nazarenes

What was the atmosphere in Israel at the time of Sha’ul ministry that influenced Rav Sha’ul leading to his acceptance of Yahusha as the Messiah?

In Acts we see Peter proclaims the Gospel in Jerusalem and 3000 men join the ranks of the Nazarenes and followers of Yahusha. Guess what, those 3000 men were all JEWISH!  The Nazarenes were all Jewish.  The proclamation continues in chapter three in the temple with Peter and John taking center place. They are witnesses that Yahuah raised Yahusha from the dead.  In Acts chapter four Peter and John are arrested by the “captain of the temple and the Saducees” arrested because they were preaching the resurrection of Yahusha. At that same time the number of the Nazarenes who believed in Yahusha had reached about 5000. This meant they outgrew the Pharisees, the Saduccees and the Essenes according Josephus’ numbers. They were now the largest and fastest growing sect in Jerusalem!  Not one of them were a Christian they all were Jews who accepted Yahusha as the Messiah and were all to a man Torah observant.  This is the true early “church”.

It was in this environment that Sha’ul came to believe in Yahusha as well.   Sha’ul was a “doctor of the Law” (that is what a Pharisee is) who studied under the most influential Jewish Rabbi in history Gamaliel.   Gamaliel was such a respected figure during the time of Yahusha that he literally dictated the proceeding of the Sanhedrin even rivaling the authority of the High Priest as we read in Acts Chapter 5!  The epigram which Rabbinic literature gives to him speaks of the respect with which Gamaliel was held:

When he died the honor [outward respect] of the Torah ceased, and purity and piety became extinct"(Sotah xv: 18).

Wow!  Even the Jews admit that upon Gamaliel’s death the honor of the torah ceased and purity and piety became extinct.  From that point forward history records that Judaism succumbed to Hellenization and paganism.  So the Jews recognize Gamaliels’ death as the defining moment when Judaism went astray.  Historically we know that Gamaliel was an important Jewish leader of the first century, and the New Testament confirms that he was part of the Sanhedrin, a doctor of the law and respected by the people.  Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles records all this along with the fact that he is a Pharisee and the teacher of the Rav Sha’ul.   To Luke the term Pharisee was descriptive and not necessarily written with a negative connotation… for Sha’ul himself claimed to be a Pharisee in the Acts of the Apostles.  Sha’ul being the protégé of Gamaliel that was instrumental in Sha’ul rapid climb in influence and position within the ranks of the Pharisees.  Gamaliel flourished then from about 20 AD to 52 AD, this was the period in which the Church first grew up.  Gamaliel was a nasi or “head of the Pharisees” in this period and while he headed up the party of the Pharisees, Yahusha said: “The Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, so all that they say to you, observe and do”.  Since Gamaliel is said to have sit at the steps of temple mount and issued letters from there it is likely he saw Yahusha in action or heard him teach and perhaps even met and spoken to the Messiah.  Gamaliel later became a follow of the Messiah and by all accounts maintained his position in the Sanhedrin to use his position of authority to protect the Nazarenes from prosecution. As we see him do in the book of Acts.

We then see Rav Sha’ul an influential member of the sect of the Pharisees become a believer in Yahusha and called directly by Yahusha to bring the gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel scattered among the Gentile nations.  It was a fellow Nazarene described as “an observant follower of the Torah” who came to restore Sha’ul’s vision.

Acts 22:12 – Paul going to a Torah observant Jew to be healed

A man named Hananyah, an observant follower of the Torah (why would he add that statement?) who was highly regarded by the entire Jewish community there, came to me, stood by me and said “Brother Sha’ul, see again!”.

So Sha’ul’s teacher was a devote Torah observant famous Rabbi, the man who healed Sha’uls sight a torah observant Jew… In fact there was no such thing as a Christian among them at that time, there were the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essences, and Nazarenes and all of them were Torah observant Jews.

So this is the historical context of Sha’ul transitioning from being a leading Pharisee to becoming a Nazarene and later the leader of the Nazarenes.  So we have an environment where the leaders of the Pharisees (Gamaliel and Sha’ul) became converts to the Messiah Yahusha and in Sha’ul’s case the leader of the entire Nazarene movement.  But what does that mean “leader of the Nazarenes”? 

This is a very powerful indicator of what Sha’ul actually believed and taught.  If the Nazarenes had accepted Sha’ul as their leader then Sha’ul must have been an outspoken champion of their cause with unique understanding of the Torah and Messiah!  Remember, the first leader of the Nazarenes was John the Immerser and mentor of Yahusha.  It was John that was prophesied to be the coming of Elijah who would “set the path straight” for the Messiah.  It was John who was the rightful High Priest of Israel who Mikveh’d Yahusha and passed the mantle of High Priest to Yahusha in the Jordan River.  It was John, the leader of the Nazarenes, that instructed his followers to follow Yahusha, the new leader of the Nazarenes and rightful High Priest and King of Israel.  Yahusha made his feelings for John perfectly clear about this man John:

Matthew 11
…10 "This is the one about whom it is written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' 11"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!

So the message of the Gospel was passed from John the Baptist to his disciple Yahusha who then took the leadership role over the Nazarenes.  Later it would be Rav Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) who would rise to the top and lead the true “church” which was Nazarene not Christian.

So what does it mean to be a “Nazarene”?  This is very important because whatever that means that is what Sha’ul stood for, taught, promoted, and later died for and it should be within THAT context we understand his writings.  Sha’ul was a Hebrew Nazarene not a Roman Christian.  So let’s look at where the Nazarenes came from and what they stood for.

John the Great Nazarene – The Teacher of Righteousness

In the Dead Sea Scrolls there is a figure called “The Great Notsri (Nazarene)” and “Teacher of Righteousness” who would be sent by Yahuah to prepare the way for the Branch.  This is where the term Nazarene came from, it described all those followed John the Great Notri who prepared the way for The Branch who is Yahusha the Messiah.

John 1:6-9

6 There was a man sent from (the predestined Plan of) Yahuah, whose name was John (John was born a miraculous birth and “sent from Yahuah” just like Yahusha). 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him (through John by being a Nazarene we) might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent (from Yahuah) to bear witness (John too was an Emmanuel a true and faithful witness) of that Light. 9 That (John might bear witness to Yahusha who) was the true (Emmanuel) Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

According to the Dead Sea Scroll, this Great Notsri the Teacher of Righteousness was said to have the proper understanding of the Torah, qualified in its accurate instruction, and be the one through whom Yahuah would reveal to the community “the hidden things in which Israel had gone astray”. He would rightfully be of the House of Zadok (a true High Priest of Israel). This was Yahusha’s mentor and teacher, John the Great Notsri who was of The House of Zadok and the “anointed High Priest” in succession to Yahusha III (see my book Melchizedek and the Passover Lamb).

This description of “The Great Notsri” is found in the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scroll which carbon dating has placed it around the time John was acting as High Priest in the wilderness. John was prophesied to fulfill this very role by his father Zachariah:

Luke 1:76-80

Zechariah’s Song

76 “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before Yahuah to prepare the way for him (Yahusha), 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

The Great Notsri, founder of the Nazarenes, at that time was undoubtedly John the Baptist who was the rightful High Priest from the House of Zadok. Although there is a “debate” about who this Great Notsri was among current scholars, there should be no doubt. Yahusha told us exactly who this great Teacher of Righteousness among the Nazarenes and Essences was, it was his own mentor:

Matthew 11:11

“I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.

If there was no one greater than John ever born of a woman (that includes all men) then he is The Great Notsri. So much for that debate, Yahusha, The Branch, settled it. So, we have John "the prophesied Great Nazarene" and "Teacher of Righteousness (Torah)" mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and identified by The Messiah leading the elect looking for The Branch and they were not called “Christians” they were called Notsris or Nazarenes.

Yahusha the Nazarene – follower of John

Nazarenes were a sect among the Jews in Israel who followed John the Baptist at the time Yahusha lived. Under John’s direction, the Nazarenes knowing the prophecies of Daniel concerning the timing of the Messiah’s coming, bathed in the Mikveh daily in expectation of the Messiah’s arrival.

Yahusha and many of his disciples were first followers of John the Baptist and were all... Nazarenes. When John consecrated Yahusha as his successor, his followers then followed Yahusha “the Nazarene” and accepted him as The Messiah.

What are Nazarenes?

Nazarenes were spoken of as guardians of The Torah, Prophets, and Messiah. It is a mistranslation in our Bibles where it says “Jesus of Nazareth” it should read “Yahusha the Nazarene”. Not only is his name not Jesus, not only was Yahusha and his followers known to come from Galilee not from Nazareth, but the terms "sect of the Nazarenes" and "Yahusha of Nazareth" are the same. They both employ the adjective nasraya (ܐ  ܝܪܨܢܕ) or notsri meaning branch, which is referring to the prophecy in Isaiah concerning The Branch and prophecy of Zachariah concerning The Branch.

The English word “Nazarene” (Greek “Nazaraios,” Aramaic “Natsraya,” or Hebrew “Notsri”) comes from the Hebrew word netser (branch), which itself is derived from the verb natsar which means “to guard, watch, keep, or preserve.” in context speaking of The Torah.


The NAS Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon - Strong's Number:   5341

Transliterated Word – Natsar the root of Notris or Nazarene

Definition: to guard, watch, watch over, keep (Qal) to watch, guard, keep, to preserve, guard from dangers, to keep, observe, guard with fidelity, to guard, keep secret, to be kept close, be blockaded, watchman (participle)

This is speaking in context of The Torah and Prophets.  So all Nazarenes were to keep and observe The Torah and guard, watch over, and protect it.  They were fierce apponents of all forms of paganism including the Babylonian Talmud.   

The Apostle Paul – Leader of the Nazarenes, follower of Yahusha

Rav Sha’ul or The Apostle paul too was a Nazarene or Notsri. After Paul was arrested in Jerusalem; he was escorted to Caesarea to appear before the governor, Felix. Under the authority of Ananias, the “unauthorized” high priest, Tertullus brought the charges before Felix. Notice his accusation:

Acts 24:5-6

“For we have found this man to be a pest and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law”

So here we see a firsthand account and eye witness testimony that Sha’ul was a Nazarene and follower of Yahusha.  Sha’ul was in fact the leader now of the Nazarenes.  He was making waves in Israel among the Jewish leaders and Pharisees as Yahusha did confronting them with the written Torah overturning their traditions.  So Sha’ul was being tried for the exact same “crime” that Yahusha was put to death for!  Sha’ul like John and Yahusha was the leading figure in defense of the written Torah, Prophets, and Messiah.




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