Sid Roth - Satan Stole This from You and You Didn't Even Know It
Sid Roth: So, you know the question that a lot of people have is, the church started out all Jews, Jewish scriptures, Jewish God, the whole thing was Jewish, by the way there also was a lot of power, miracles happened, I mean some Jewish people would walk around and under their shadow people would be healed. Everyone was excited about Jesus, one day a Jewish fisherman gives a few sentences and three thousand Jewish people come to believe in Jesus, so how did it come so anemic today? My guest Robert Heidler is a specialist in this area, he is a graduate of Dallas School of Theology, Robert how did you first get interested in this whole deal of the Jewish history of the church, or this manuscript, this unpublished manuscript I have here called the Messianic church?
Robert Heidler: Well I've long been interested in history, I was a student of church history in seminary, but in 1997 I was asked to teach a course in church history from a Messianic Jewish perspective, and so I began to do research and I began to study and the first question I had was, "When did the church stop being Jewish"? And like many Christians I had assumed that shortly after Pentecost they decided that well, this is no longer Jewish, we're going to have a gentile church and set it up to minister to gentiles. And so I went back to the Book of Acts and began to study through to find where the break from Judaism came, and what I was amazed with was as I read through the Book of Acts was that break never came, there never came a point where they said now we're leaving Judaism and we are going to become a gentile movement. As a matter of fact as you go through the Book of Acts they still worshipped in the temple and in the synagogues, they still took nazerite vows, they still celebrated the holidays of the Old Testament scriptures. Even at the very end of the Book of Acts Paul is say, "I am a Jew".
Sid Roth: So okay, did it happen you think in the first century?
Robert Heidler: Well, that was my next thing to study,
Sid Roth: I mean after the new covenant was finished was the break, or...
Robert Heidler: Because I thought if the apostles never divorced the church from Judaism, where did it happen?
Sid Roth: Yeah.
Robert Heidler: And you study through the second century, through the third century, you see the church for the most part still celebrating the shabbats and the holidays and being very Jewish. And it wasn't really till you get to the fourth century under the Roman emperor Constantine when he made the church an offer it should have refused, because basically he said if you will let me change the church I will stop the persecution. And so the church, because of the persecution they had been under they agreed and they compromised.
Sid Roth: What changes did he make?
Robert Heidler: Well, as a Roman he hated the Jews. He viewed the Jewish people as a rebellious people that had been conquered by Rome, and so basically he came out, right out and said it, we want to remove everything Jewish from Christianity.
Sid Roth: So you are saying to me that God didn't remove it, the scriptures didn't remove it, but a man removed it.
Robert Heidler: A man removed it, a pagan Roman emperor. He wanted to unify his empire and he felt the best way to do that would be to take Christianity and make it a little bit more pagan so all the religions of the empire could merge together and be happy together.
Sid Roth: That was a very political thing, just like what they do today. What effect did this have, okay so they got rid of all the biblical festivals, they got rid of the shabbat, the sabbath, what else did they get rid of?
Robert Heidler: It really got rid of a whole biblical mindset, because the Christianity of the early church was based on the scriptures, old and New Testament. It had a biblical attitude toward God, a biblical attitude toward the home, biblical attitude toward the scriptures, you know it is interesting in the early church, their attitude toward the scriptures was every believer needs to understand the scriptures, just like the Jewish people...
Sid Roth: Well look at how it changed over the centuries and the Catholic church, it was done in a language they didn't understand, I can tell you from Judaism, from my viewpoint as from this generation I would go to the orthodox synagogue and it would be in Hebrew and I wouldn't understand a word of what they were saying. So, what about this whole separation of clergy and layman?
Robert Heidler: Well see, in the Greek mindset, Greek religions were mystery religions, which meant that the leaders, the priests were initiated and they were able to understand the sacred mysteries and the common people worshipped in ignorance, they weren't allowed to read the sacred books. And so when that mindset come over into Christianity instead of having people taught the scriptures and expect them to understand them, you had the priest who knew the scriptures, the Bibles were written in a language the people didn't know, they were chained to a pulpit where they couldn't be read, and the people would come in and worship in ignorance.
Sid Roth: Now when they would come in, I was shocked when I read this unpublished manuscript, and you literally say that it was punishable by death if they met in their homes and that is where the first church really met.
Robert Heidler: That was one of the things Constantine outlawed. He started building large church building all over the empire and once they were built he commanded, he outlawed the house church, he outlawed houses of prayer and said, because he couldn't control what happened in a house church but he could control what happened in the ones he built.
Sid Roth: What about this whole structure of the pope, the bishop, the elders, and then in protestantism they still had the same thing they just changed the names, where did all this come from?
Robert Heidler: Well that is very interesting to study, if you look on the internet and there are a lot of sites out there about Mithraism, which was a pagan religion, it was Constantine's religion, and in Mithraism the priest was called, each congregation, each temple had a priest who was called father, the high priest wore a special hat called the miter, his symbol was the shepherds staff and a key, and he ruled the religion from his temple on the Vatican hill in Rome.
Sid Roth: A great deal of authority.
Robert Heidler: Yeah, but as you look at the church two centuries later, the church is made up of priest, the rulers, the leaders are priests who are called father, and the high priest has his church, his temple on Vatican hill on Rome with the same symbols the Mithraic priest had.
Sid Roth: Did you say in your book, I mean this is amazing, that many of these occult type priests, pagan priests, they would take their temples and instantly one day it would be for pagans and the next day it would be a Christian temple, it was sort of like, this is the new official religion in town, and you know what, we went from a vibrant intimacy, 24/7 with God to religion. I'd like to find out from this expert what the first church really was like, don't go away.
Sid Roth: Hi, Sid Roth here with pastor Robert Heidler, graduated Dallas theological seminary, who has studied what the first church was like. Now why would we want to know what the first church was like? Well, they had intimacy with God: they heard God's voice, they didn't value anything compared to intimacy with God, they walked in signs and wonders and miracles, the least believer walked in these signs, it was not a superstar system, they all had the superstar inside of him, Jesus. And we found out that this fellow Constantine had a merger of paganism and Christianity, and the vestiges are still with us today, so question is postured, Robert Heidler, paint a picture to me about what it was like before the mixture came in.
Robert Heidler: Okay, well Sid lets imagine we are walking down a street in the city of Rome, it around the year 90 ad, and you are going to visit an early church, of course they met in homes, there weren't church buildings, doesn't mean the church building is wrong, but that is not want they chose to do, but they, we walk up to a house and we walk in the door, and what we see is not like anything we have ever imagined church to be. There is no special clothing worn, there is no hymnbooks, there is no pews, there is no pulpit, the building doesn't have a steeple on top...
Sid Roth: Crosses?
Robert Heidler: No crosses. As we walk in through the door what we see, we look around...
Sid Roth: Is there a platform built for them at least?
Robert Heidler: Not a platform built, as a matter of fact, the church takes place in the large open courtyard, which most homes had at that time, and there was an open courtyard in the middle of the home, we walk in to it and there looks like there is a party going on. They are playing flutes and lyres and tambourines, they are dancing Jewish style ring dances. And we look around and we think, did I come to the right place this doesn't look like church.
Sid Roth: They are really having fun?
Robert Heidler: They are having fun, it is exciting. And we walk in and we really listen to the words and we realize they are singing about Yeshua, this is church. And you read many, many historical descriptions of the early church, and it was typical for them to begin with just a prolonged period of joyful singing, dancing, that was just a typical way for them to start church.
Sid Roth: Did they have a worship team so to speak like we have today.
Robert Heidler: I imagine they knew who could play...
Sid Roth: But I don't think they were all set on a band stand.
Robert Heidler: They probably didn't have, no, no. It was very free, it was very open, it was very joyful, and if that didn't surprise us enough, the next thing they would do would surprise us even more because when they slow down and stop the next thing they would do, was start bringing out food. And people would sit down together and have a meal together it is called the agape, and the New Testament describes that. And they would eat together, they would fellowship together, they would share about the Lord in the process. And because it was a family, they new each other, they loved each other.
Sid Roth: You know I like to use the word, mishpochah, which is Hebrew word that means family, and in studying your manuscript, that is what we lost, by substituting the Greco Roman roots for Jewish roots. The whole family thing, I mean he was so rich.
Robert Heidler: Yes.
Sid Roth: I mean I feel robbed.
Robert Heidler: You should, you have been. Things that God wanted us to have.
Sid Roth: So they had this, and let me tell you, chicken matzo ball soup, potato colugo, you don't know, Gefilte fish with horse radish, you don't know what heaven is until you have had Jewish food. Now you don't have to like the Jewish food, however what else happened?
Robert Heidler: Well as they continued on, they would worship, they would sing and at some point and the Bible describes this, it says when the power of the Lord is present, there will come a time in the midst of this, when the Spirit of God will just drop down, in a very tangible way, and as that happened, miracles began to take place. Irenaeus describes even at the end of the second century it was very common for healings and tongues, prophetic words, miracles, he said it was even common to see people raised from the dead by the prayers of the church. The Spirit of God would I sort of picture it this way, you know you are sitting there and you are looking and there is a family in the back and they are looking very uncomfortable and they have never been here before, they have come because there daughter has contracted a disease, that has left her blind and they have no one else to turn to, but they have a friend that is a Christian and invites them to church and they bring there daughter in, and when the Spirit of God falls people gather around and they begin to pray for her, and suddenly she begins to weep and cry and she says "I can see, I can see".
Sid Roth: Could you picture her running throughout the neighborhood saying "I can see, I can see. I just went to Shlomo's house over there it was so good the Gefilte fish and chicken matzo ball soup. And miracles happen, never happened in my synagogue". Okay...
Robert Heidler: And you assume that the whole family is saved. And we think that sounds like a dramatic thing, but you read that is what saved most people, in the Roman Empire. Even the historians say it is the power of the church to heal and deliver that cause people to want to brave the threat of persecution to come to meet Yeshua.
Sid Roth: Now in Israel, were many people becoming believers?
Robert Heidler: Oh yes, when you look at the church in Jerusalem, it started with 120, moved up to 3,000, and by acts chapter 4, it was probably up over 10,000, they said there were 5,000 males at the church by that time. And many estimated that by the martyr of Stephen it would be up to 20,000 when Paul comes into Jerusalem, in acts chapter 19 or 20, James comes up to him and says look how many tens of thousands of Jews have come to believe in Yeshua, and are zealous for Torah.
Sid Roth: Can this be recaptured again? I believe yes, I was so fascinated with this unpublished manuscript by Robert Heidler, we are making it available, and I believe that if we stop changing and go back to the way God created it to be, we will get the same results, makes sense? Makes sense to me. Don't go away you are going to find out some mixture that came into the church, which is robbing us of miracles be right back.
Sid Roth: Hello Sid Roth here with Robert Heidler, Robert is a graduate from Dallas theological seminary, his specialty was what was the first church like? And it is unbelievable, I got a hold of this unpublished manuscript it is the most amazing things, it is all documented and it shows exactly, one of the things that disappointed you so much according to this when you were in seminary is when you started studying the writings of the church fathers. That sounds like an oxymoron, explain.
Robert Heidler: Well Sid you know God had chosen the Jewish people to be priest to the nation. And he spent 2000 years giving and understanding the things of God, so that they would be able to disciple the nations. What happened early in the second century, is the Gospel began to move out into the gentile world, men began to rise up into leadership who did not have the understanding. And a lot of these men are called the church fathers, they were originally trained in Greek Philosophy but they came to know Yeshua, but they didn't understand the things of God, they didn't understand what God was like. And so as they began to write, they would deliberately attempt to take what they learned from Greek Philosophy and merge it into what they knew of Christianity one of first of these was origin, who was well known early theologian. And his stated goal was to take stoicism and neoloplatisms, and merge that with Christian theology. Augustine did the same thing, Augustine was the father of theology for Catholic and protestants but his goal according to any encyclopedia, was to take the things of Christianity and merge them with Platonism, and neoPlatonism, and make a Christianity that was acceptable to the Greek pagan mind.
Sid Roth: How did there writings compare with the Jewish church fathers the one's that had the mixtures?
Robert Heidler: It was, when I started studying church history, I was so excited to get to read the church fathers. Because these were men that lived just a generation...
Sid Roth: So close.
Robert Heidler: The disciples would have wonderful insights and what I saw is they didn't understand anything. They quoted the scriptures a lot but they didn't understand it, and so much of what they said was almost laughable, one of the books, it talks about how to baptize people and what is important it's main point is you really need to baptize people in cold running water, if it is not running water that is okay but make sure it is cold. And that was there insight for effective baptism. They did not understand the spiritual truth behind it, they did not know the nature of God. Phillip shaft who is one of the most recognized church historians said go in for the writings of the Hebrew apostles to the Greek church fathers is like going from a beautiful well watered oasis, out into a dry desert wasteland.
Sid Roth: Was that your experience?
Robert Heidler: That was my experience it was a dramatic difference.
Sid Roth: Where was this, and you covered all of this brilliantly in your manuscript which we have made available even though it is an unpublished manuscript, but what I would like to know, is it is almost outrageous, the fact that some people came up with something theology called replacement theology where the church replaces Israel all of the promises of Israel go to the church, all the curses go to Israel I mean when you look at the fact, that it was Jewish people, all Jewish, a gentile had to convert to Judaism to become a follower in Jesus at the first church. The scriptures were the Jewish scriptures, the Messiah is the Jewish Messiah, he lived a Jewish life. How in the world did the church fathers come up with the concoction of God's promises aren't forever when he says forever.
Robert Heidler: Well that was origin again. In order to merge Greek Philosophy with the Bible, he had to find a new way to interpret the Bible, he called it allegorism. And in that he took the text of the Bible but he didn't pay attention to what it said, he just put his ideas over it, and one of the ideas that he came up with, was replacement theology. He said we don't like all of this Jewish stuff, so we are going to say that God is finished with the Jews now, and all of the promises God gave the Jews he is now giving the church. So basically...
Sid Roth: But there is too much scripture that says the opposite. Certainly there had to be people that said no, you have gone too far.
Robert Heidler: Well there were a lot of people, but there were also others that were willing to follow because they were enamored with the Greek Philosophy with the Greek mindset of the day. And it was a tragic thing, because basically they were saying God divorced his first wife, and married a second. And all of the promises God gave to Israel he just wiped away, and if we have a God who can wipe away promises like that, then we don't have a God we can trust.
Sid Roth: What is your understanding of Paul, in Romans the 11 chapter. What is he saying to believers today? What is the relevance?
Robert Heidler: I think that is a very relevant passage for today. Because what he is saying is this, he is saying yes, many Jews have rejected the Messiah, but he says that is only a temporary thing. And he says the time will come when all of Israel is saved. And he says when that begins to happen, when you start to see the Jews turning back to the Messiah, what that will mean is the gentile church will be plugged back into it's roots. And he says that will be life from the dead from the gentile church.
Sid Roth: I have often wondered you know when it says life from the dead, what does that really mean? What does life from the dead, to the gentile church mean? What do you think Robert?
Robert Heidler: Well if you go anywhere in the world today the church is praying for one thing, it is praying for revival. Revival is when the life of God comes into his church. Revival is a dead church coming to life, and I believe Paul is saying that when the Jews begin to turn back to Messiah, that is when the long awaited end time revival is going to sweep the church. And Sid I believe we are just at the very beginning stages seeing that revival take place.
Sid Roth: Now when you gather all of this material, what emotions really and truly went on inside of you? I mean here you come from a gentile background and you have as fine of education as a man of God can have in this generation, as fine a library as anyone- and then all of a sudden your world is turned upside down, like for instance when you found out about ISIS explain that quickly. Robert Heidler:.Okay, what happened when the pagan temples became churches, the law was passed you are not allowed to, pagan worship was outlawed. If you are a pagan you are now in the Christian empire, and you need to live as a Christian. And so what they would do, they would take there pagan God's and just give the pagan God's Christian names and just continue to worship the way they had before. And one of the most popular religions was the worship of ISIS, she was an Egyptian Goddess, and she was called the great virgin. She was called the mother of God.
Sid Roth: She was called the mother of God?
Robert Heidler: She was usually shown holding her son Horace, the God Horace, and that was a very popular religion.
Sid Roth: Did they worship her?
Robert Heidler: They would worship her. They would go and bow down to her, they would light candles, they would light incense. And so what happened, the worshippers of ISIS were told it is now illegal to worship ISIS. So what did they do? They just changed the names. That was part of the pagan mindset, they could change the names of their Gods. And they looked around in Christianity to find someone they could change the name to, and they chose Mary. And so the cult of ISIS, in most of the details of it's worship, just transferred over. And they would go to the church that used to be their temple, bow down to a statue that looked very much like the statue of ISIS, only now they're bowing down to worship Mary.
Sid Roth: You know Robert, that had to be such an abomination to traditional Judaism. No wonder there's a wall of separation between Jews and Christians today. But it's about ready to change. You see, Paul said in the book of Ephesians, the second chapter, that the reason Jesus came was to break down that middle wall of separation between Jew and gentile to form one new man. Now this one new man is the king of the Jews - Jesus. And so, you can see, I mean it's so obvious, this replacement theology, these statues. I mean in Judaism we know one thing: according to the Torah, you don't bow down to statues. I mean Christianity is the exact opposite of what we Jewish people were taught. And Judaism is the exact opposite of what Christians have been taught. But things are ready to change. I'm so grateful for this unpublished manuscript. You're going to get a copy of it and you're going to change. And guess what? God is going to show up in your home the same way he did in these glorious house meetings that the first church had. Oh? You don't know Jesus? I'm glad you asked. Tell God you're sorry for your sins, say "I believe Jesus died for my sins. I make Jesus my Lord. Live inside". Read the Bible. That's it.