|'Evyonut: A Way and Its Restoration|
What was an Ebionite? --The basis of Ebionite Faith Today.
We are the modern restoration of the 'Evyonim, the Poor. As a restoration we have found that within a strict Yahwistic boundary, we have many things in common with the ancient 'Evyonim or Ebionites. Many of these beliefs are delineated below and on the FAQ page. "Ebionite" (or 'Evyoni) is the best description of our faith within the Yahwistic Faith, and using this title is also a direct witness against the Paulist Church, Christianity, who murdered the Ebionites. We are a reminder that the days of the "treading down" by the gentiles will come to an end.
The original Ebionite sect can only be found in encyclopaedia, for they were eventually hunted down as heretics by the christian church, that is those who did not rejoin the mainstream or shift into other sectarian streams of Judaism. Most of what we know about the Ebionites come from hostile sources even up to more modern days. Ebyonim/ ÙEbyÕnÏm derives from Hebrew ÙebyÕn "Poor" in the sense of the "blessed are the" and the "Poor at Yerushalayim" phrases which survive the later editorial work of Pauline christians. We know now that the sect was under leadership of the Mebaqqer or PaqÏd YaÚÃqÓb ,en YÓvÉf ("James") and were also known as NÓßrÏm ("Nazarenes") and very likely other titles. These were the original followers of Yahshua ben YÓvÉf. Both apellatives, NÓßrÏm and ÙEbyÕnÏm, and others are illuminated by the context of meaning used in documents found at Qumran. Nazarene is not locative, but to be understood in the sense nÓßrË jabbÇrÏt "Guardians or Keepers of the Covenant." It is very possible that there is some continuity or other close relationship between authors of many Qumran writings and Essenes (ÚOüÏm =Doers [of Torah]) and Messianic 'Evyonim.
But according to the hostile heresy hunters, there was a differentiation in the "Nazarenes" and Ebionites. Ebionites never knew of any apostle named Paul of Tarsus, and identified him as an apostate and worse. On the other hand, according to the christian "fathers", Nazarenes acknowledged Paul's claims as legitimate as an envoy sent to gentiles, and his (conflicting) reports of visions. But this smooths over the fact of Torah-keeping messianics under the same apellative used for Yahshua, another law-keeper, in the face of a gentile movement editing documents to justify a new anomian religion founded by Paul of Tarsus. How could Yahshua "the Nazarene" as new age Paulistic saviour, jibe with Jewish (Yahwistic) Torah-observant Nazarenes? Christian "historians" could simply misrepresent the Nazarenes. The church was effectively silencing them, and could write history however it pleased. It is not impossible that the "Nazarenes" of Eusebius and others are a complete fabrication created to provide support of the supposed "compromise" between Ya`aqov and Paul (which never happened) and an imagined but needed continuity between the council at Yerushalayim and Paulistic antinomian heresy. The Nazarenes as a sort of missing link has been used to legitimize the total inversion of the earliest messianic faith.
This is the version of christian history many scholars still feel secure in. It is their fairy tale of how old Jewish believers "saw the light" and stepped from their ethnic Yahwistic ignorance into universal Graeco-Roman mystery religion. They use a term "Jewish-Christian" to illustrate an understood (wink,wink, nod,nod) missing link or bridge that never existed except in apostacy and christian apologetics.
Today the word 'notsrim' is used for 'christian' in Hebrew. Scholars, when trying to deal with the contemporary messianic groups reacting to the activities of Yahshua ben Yosef, often use the misnomer 'Jewish-Christian' revealing their difficulty. They are looking through the assumption that historical Paulism/Christianity is orthodox, and worse still, orthodox immediately after events surrounding Yahshua. There were no 'christians' following Yahshua; the word 'christ' with its pagan conotations, is foreign to the earliest followers as 'Jews.' A Jew, as in Judaism, did not exist in an orthodox form either at this time. Christianity and (Rabbinic) Judaism came later and during the first century 'Jew' referred to a ethnic, national people in spite of any sectarian affiliations. All had a devotion to their god, Yahweh ÙÌlÓjË YiürÁÙÉl, just varieties and degrees of expression and practice. But if we assume that both Christianity and Judaism in their present stances were viable even during and immediately following the "Yahshua event," fully mature and dogmatically complete, then the term 'Jewish-Christian' is comparable to saying Cat-Dog or similar pairings of opposites.
The faith of Evyonim yesterday and today is not centered on salvation figures or human sacrifice. Neither is it Judaic (according to that form governed by the Rabbis and Talmudic interpretations). The Evyonim and others were involved with reform within the Yahwistic religion. This was a reaction to the direction that certain schools of thought were taking in regards to Torah. Although one of the most noted sects was the P'rushim (Pharisees) who provided the platform for Rabbinic Judaism, they were surely not alone in their departure from Written Law.
The ÚOüÏm, YÁjÝÁnÁn the Immerser, Yahshua and others were all reformers and rejecters of the status quo. We believe that restoration of biblical Yahwism was their goal, and it is ours also. Here is an abbreviated outline of beliefs reflecting that goal:
There is one deity, Yahweh, ---Yahweh alone.
He has communicated through the Torah and Nevi'im (Law and Prophets)
All other theological validity must fit within that framework.
We do not know of other faiths that rely on these statements as their basis of authority for doctrine and life.
The Re-newed Covenant
Yahweh spoke to Yirmeyahu of a re-newed covenant to receive those who turned from Yahwism, and the day when the covenant would be "written upon the heart." This is the basis of reformation. The Torah will be accepted internally, not due to its enforcement externally. And if Yahweh can show forgiveness we should imitate that forgiveness and loving-kindness (Ýeved). But the covenant is not a new or different one, and the Torah is still our instruction. This covenant requires that individuals continually examine themselves according to the guidelines of the Torah and loving-kindness, repenting of the things that separate them from the fullness Yahweh provides (teshuvah). Remembering that every human is created in the likeness of Yahweh, and that Yahweh is life, we must strive to preserve life and make preference to life over all else (pikuah nefesh), that saving a single life is like saving the whole world. And to better love the Creator, we should love all His creation.
The prophets transmit knowledge of a time the Chosen will return by the old paths they departed from; gentiles will grab hold of the Yahwists' garments to walk with them and learn of Yahweh; His King will rule the nations and all will worship Yahweh, appearing before Yah on the feast days. Yisra'el will be a nation of ]ÓjÃnÏm ministering to the nations in Yahwistic faith.
These are the primary beliefs. There are many secondary matters. These are spoken of elsewhere, and not set in stone (just concrete), and a good place to start is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the site.
Copyright © 1997/5757 Shemayah ben-Avraham
10/04/99 04:39:48 PM -0400