Nazarenes: True Followers of “The Way”
By James Trimm
NAZARENE JUDAISM WAS “THE WAY”
Acts 24:5 reads:
"For we have found this man to be one who is corrupt and stirs up
sedition among all the Jews in all Ha-Eretz (The Land). For he is a
leader of the teaching of the Nazarenes."
(Acts 24:5 ? HRV from the Aramaic Peshitta)
The Greek has "sect" in pace of "teaching".
Then in Acts 24:14 Paul responds to this accusation saying:
"…this I do confess, that in the same teaching about which they are
speaking, I serve [Elohim]?"
(Acts 24:14 ? HRV from the Aramaic Peshitta)
Now while book of Acts was originally written in Aramaic, the only
surviving witness to that original Aramaic text in Aramaic is the
Peshitta (and a few quotations by Syriac "Church Fathers") the more
primitive Old Syriac Aramaic text of Acts has not survived.
We do have indirect witnesses to that text through the Western type
text of Acts preserved in the Western Type Greek manuscripts, and in
the Old Latin. While the Greek is not the original language of Acts,
it can preserve original readings not preserved in the Peshitta, in
much the same way that the LXX can sometimes preserve original
readings which have not survived in the Masoretic Text. In this case
the word "The Way" (a single word in Aramaic) has been omitted from
the Aramaic Peshitta version of Acts, but it is almost certainly
original, since it appears in all other versions of Acts.
The Original Aramaic of Acts most probably read:
"…this I do confess, in this Way, the teaching about which they are
speaking, I serve [Elohim]?"
(Acts 24:14 as it must have read in the original Aramaic)
Here it is clearly stated by Paul that "The Way" is a synonym for "The
Teaching/Sect of the Nazarenes".
So if we can better understand how "The Way" is used, we will better
understand how the term "Nazarenes" was understood.
ESSENE JUDASIM WAS “THE WAY”
The term "The Way" is used to describe believers in Acts 9:2 and Acts
22:4 (which actually recaps the events of Acts 9:2).
Both the Qumran community, and John quoted Is. 40:3 as being a
prophecy foretelling of their work (Mt. 3:3; Mk. 1:3; Lk. 3:4; Jn
1:23; Dam. Doc. viii, 12-14; ix, 20). This verse appears in most New
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
However, the cantor markings in the Masoretic Text give us the
The voice of one crying
"In the wilderness prepare the way of YHWH;
make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim."
As a result of their use of this verse, both John and the Essenes of
the Qumran community referred to themselves as being "in the
wilderness" and both the Essene Qumran community and the early
believers in Yeshua called their movement "The Way". (Mt. 3:3; Mk.
1:3; Lk. 3:4; Jn 1:23; Acts 9:2; 22:4; 24:14 compared to Manual of
Discipline viii, 12-14; ix, 17-22).
In Acts we read about Paul just before he became a believer in Messiah:
Now Shaul was yet full of the threat and anger of murder
against the talmidim of our Adon. And he asked for letters
from the Chief Cohen to give to Darm'suk (Damascus)
to the synagogues, that if he should find any who follow in
this way, men or women, he might bind and bring them
Now why would Shaul want to go to Damascus to pursue the followers of
Damascus was the capitol of Essene Judaism as laid out in the
"Damascus Document" found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first
Essenes "...went out of the land of Judah and dwelt in the land of
Damascus..." (Damascus Document 6, 5)
As we have demonstrated so many times before (and this is a whole
separate article) the first followers of Yeshua were from the Essenes.
Now while on his way to Damascus Paul encounters the resurrected
Yeshua and himself becomes a believer in Yeshua as the Messiah (Acts
9:3-7). As instructed by Yeshua, Paul enters Damascus and makes
contact with the followers of Yeshua there (Acts 9:8-19). In his
letter to the Galatians Paul describes these events as follows:
And I did not go to Yerushaliyim to the emissaries who
were before me, but I went to Arabia and again returned
to Darm'suk (Damascus), and after three years, I went
to Yerushalayim to seek Kefa and remained with him
Why did Paul remain for three years in Damascus? Because it took
three years to be fully admitted into the Essene community. As
"But now if any one has a mind to come over to their sect, he is not
immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living
which they use for a year, while he continues excluded'; and they give
him also a small hatchet, and the fore-mentioned girdle, and the white
garment. And when he has given evidence, during that time, that he can
observe their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living,
and is made a partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not
even now admitted to live with them; for after this demonstration of
his fortitude, his temper is tried two more years; and if he appear to
be worthy, they then admit him into their society."
Paul went through the entire process of learning the ins and outs of
Essene Judaism. These studies also shaped Paul's thinking. There are
several Parallels between Paul's teachings and the Essene teachings at
The important point I want to make here is that the term "The Way" was
originally a euphemism for Essene Judaism and became a euphemism for
Nazarene Judaism as an offshoot of Essene Judaism. Thus "Nazarene" is
clearly a designation of a Jewish sect, just as the Essenes, Pharisees
and Sadducees were also Jewish sects.
TORAH OBSERVANCE IS “THE WAY”
It is important to realize that the term “The Way” is drawn from the Torah itself, in which “The Way” is clearly identified as being the Torah and the commandments. No anti-nomian Christian organization that teaches that the Torah is not for today, can honestly call itself “The Way”:
And YHWH said unto me: Arise, get you down quickly from hence, for your people
that you have brought forth out of Egypt have dealt corruptly. They are quickly turned
aside out of THE WAY which I commanded them: they have made them a molten image.
For if you shall diligently keep all this commandment which I command you, to do it,
to love YHWH your Elohim, to walk in all HIS WAYS and to cleave unto Him,
Then will YHWH drive out all these nations from before you, and you shall
dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves.
Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread, shall be yours: from the
wilderness and the L’vanon, from the river--the river Euphrates--even unto the hinder sea
shall be your border.
There shall no man be able to stand against you. YHWH your Elohim shall lay the
fear of you and the dread of you, upon all the land that you shall tread upon, as He has
spoken unto you.
Behold, I set before you this day, a blessing and a curse:
he blessing, if you shall hearken unto the commandments of YHWH your Elohim,
which I command you this day.
And the curse, if you shall not hearken unto the commandments of YHWH your
Elohim, but turn aside out of THE WAY which I command you this day, to go after other
gods, which you have not known.
See, I have set before you this day, life and good, and death and evil,
In that I command you this day to love YHWH your Elohim, to walk in His WAYS,
and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then you shall live
and multiply. And YHWH your Elohim shall bless you, in the land where you go in to
127 (57): Then he answered me, and said, This is the condition of the battle, which man that is born upon the earth shall fight;
128 (58): That, if he is overcome, he shall suffer as you have said: but if he gets the victory, he shall receive the thing that I say.
129 (59): For this is the Way of which Moshe spoke unto the people while he lived, saying, Behold I have set before you life and death; the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life that you may live, you and your seed
(2Esdras 7:127-129 HRV)
--> THE MESSIAH IS THE WAY
Scripture also tells us that Messiah himself is “The Way” (Jn. 14:6).
To begin with we must understand that this Assembly is also known as the "Body of Messiah" as we read:
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the
(Col. 1:18 - KJV)
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head
over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
(Eph. 1:22-23 - KJV)
Now one may ask what "Assembly" is the allegorical Messiah? To find the answer to that question lets look at Matthew 2:14-15:
"When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and
departed into Egypt:
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. "
(Matthew 2:14-15 - KJV)
Now here Matthew is citing a prophecy in Hosea 11:1 and applying it to Messiah. Now let us go back and look at this prophecy in Hosea 11:1 in context:
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt."
(Hosea 11:1 - KJV)
Here Hosea is referring to Israel as the son who is called out of Egypt. This points us back to a passage in the Torah:
"And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go,
behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn."
(Ex. 4:22-23 - KJV)
From these two passages we learn that Israel is the firstborn son of Elohim who is called out of Egypt. However in Matthew it is Yeshua the Messiah who is called up out of Egypt and in Col. 1:18 Messiah is the "firstborn". Moreover Hebrews speaks of the "church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:23 - KJV).
Thus Israel is allegorically equivalent to the Messiah. Messiah is “The Way” and His true Assembly, the Assembly of Israel, is also “The Way”.
WHO IS THE WAY?
The Way in the Scriptures is a Torah Observant sect of Judaism known as “Nazarene” with roots in Essene Judaism.
Any Christian organization claiming to be “The Way” and teaching that the Law is not for today, is a false “Way” and not the True “Way” of Nazarene Judaism. Do not be fooled by imitations.
Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim
The [True] Way
The tithes and offerings of YHWH’s people drive YHWH’s work, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this ministry is doing the work of YHWH.
Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?