30 May 2022
The term "Judaizer" appears once in the New Testament, in Galatians 2:14. It's where Paul describes how he confronted Peter. How could Peter "Judaize" Gentile Christians? The implication is that Peter was trying to force Jewish ways on Gentile Christians. Peter was trying to revert Christian faith into Jewish Talmudism. Notice he does not suggest Peter was trying Hebrew-ize the Gentiles. This was not a study of ancient Hebraic lifestyle from Moses; it was very specifically the perversion of the Talmud in play here.
Since then, western biblical scholars seized on the term "Judaize" to indicate the herd of false Jewish converts to Christianity who spread out to infest the churches Paul and his friends had planted across the Mediterranean Basin. These false teachers were doing the same thing Peter had done for a while until the conference in Acts 15. The Judaizers who persisted after that did so by stealth and trickery. They would start out sounding consistent with Jesus' teaching, but by degrees they began to introduce Talmudic philosophical assumptions. They would bring in worldly elements that defiled the pure mystical faith.
Paul struggled with this problem and how to fight it. Being only one man with a tiny handful of helpers against a vast officially funded program of visiting Talmudic scholars who acted as wolves in sheep's clothing, the emphasis was on making the congregations ready to detect this garbage and shoot it down for themselves. Thus, while Paul doesn't mention much about the particulars, you can bet he was using his own Talmudic expertise to warn elders and pastors what that false religion smelled like. He would have had to explain a great deal of the philosophical assumptions and how they were a sharp departure from the ancient Hebrew outlook of Moses.
This was inherent in his comment to Timothy, that he should learn to accurately handle ("rightly divide") the Hebrew Scriptures, which is all they had at that time.
Later, near the end of the First Century, John foresaw how this battle would turn out. There would always be a faithful remnant, but the bulk of churches would eventually be infested by this garbage. He does his best to warn two of the Seven Churches that they would face a serious problem that they could overcome (Revelation 2:9; 3:9). John refers to the troublemakers as fake Jews, in the sense that they were not true Sons of the Law, but were corrupt Talmudists. However, he knew that a great many churches would eventually be sucked into this cesspool of deception. Some of his visions in Revelation indicate that way too many believers would loose their grip on the true Covenant of the Messiah.
For John, there were few bright spots in a dark future until the End.
Thus, we can read from the church documents of the centuries following how the Judaizers were able to subvert Christian teaching into a matter of intellect, not faith. They had themselves rejected the Hebrew mysticism, and were determined to let no one else have it. The rise of the controversies and how they were handled is all the proof we need that they lost their way.
Today's churches are all the worse. Neither the Eastern or Western Churches have been able to cling to genuine mystical faith and conviction. They have regulated every detail of thought and confession, and all kinds of practice, but none of it leaves room for genuine faith and conviction. The Reformation didn't solve the problem, either; it was founded on the false assumptions of western pagan mythology. It was more about church politics than actual faith.
Several writers have examined how Jewish elites have continued this program of seducing Christians away from genuine faith. Throughout the Middle Ages, Judaizers sought to defile genuine Christian faith wherever it reared its head. They sought to give the Renaissance and Enlightenment a secular bent. They have always striven to turn Christian belief into a worldly focus, just as they did to Old Testament faith. Instead of a Spirit Realm that is our eternal home, it's been turned into something spooky and unknowable. That's exactly what Pharisaism had done before Christ appeared.
Again, this does not justify any form of activism aimed at attacking Jews. I'll warn you again and again: They are commissioned by Satan, who in turn has a commission from God to test the Elect. The Jewish elite are attacking human systems; there's not much they can do to people who have been taught to understand the true mystical nature of faith in Christ. They can only attack from the outside using government and society. In Christian Mysticism, there is no easy target they can strike. Our faith is not an organization; it's an approach to revelation that calls to the Elect. They cannot stop its power.
The reason the Judaizers won is that too many churches shifted to a focus on being acceptable to the society around them. They sought to make church leaders "professional" so that the government and social order would take them seriously. In the long run, they succeeded at that goal, capturing the support of Constantine. What it meant was compromise with pagan worldly political scheming. They had grown tired of the persecution that is a primary mark of genuine faith in Christ, and it cost them their faith.
Will we be the generation that walks away from the compromise? Will we learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us? Stop expecting the world to take your faith seriously; it cannot. Learn to walk in faith and accept the persecution.
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