Who were the first Christians and where were they? The Maronite and other denominations of Christians in Palestine and Jordan explained, with Arab songs of the Christian tradition. Numbers have dwindled in Occupied Palestine, with many Christians moving to Lebanon or nearby. But how did Christianity start as a “thing’?
“The earliest followers of Jesus comprised an apocalyptic, Second Temple Jerusalem sect which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. Early Christianity gradually grew apart from Judaism during the first two centuries of the Christian Era (AD)”.
“The Jewish messiah concept has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future leader or king from the Davidic line who is expected to be anointed with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and world to come. The Messiah is often referred to as “King Messiah.”
“While recognizing various powers in the universe, Jews nevertheless differed from their neighbors by only offering worship (sacrifices) to their one god, Yahweh. After suffering several national defeats by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and the Babylonians in 587 BCE, their prophets claimed that God would eventually restore Israel to its former independence. In those ‘final days’, God would designate a descendant of David, an ‘anointed one’ (Messiah in Hebrew, or Christos in Greek), who would lead the righteous against the enemies of Israel. God would then establish a new Eden, which came to be known as ‘the kingdom of God.’
The followers of Jesus first took this message to the synagogue communities of Jews in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Many Jews did not believe that Jesus was the expected Messiah, but to the surprise of these apostles (messengers), Gentiles (pagans) wanted to join the movement. This unexpected occurrence raised questions of inclusion: should these pagans become Jews first, entailing circumcision, dietary laws, and Sabbath observance? At a meeting in Jerusalem (ca. 49 CE, The Apostolic Council), it was decided that pagans could join without becoming Jews. However, they had to observe some Jewish principles such as draining blood from meat, sexual morality, and the cessation of all idolatry.” Quote.
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