As I mentioned in my last update, the Scripture Restoration Project will include restoration of the Lost Jewish Gospel known as the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or as the Gospel of the Nazarenes.
Today I was meditating upon one of the fragments of this lost Gospel, as preserved by the Latin “Church Father” Jerome. Jerome’s citation reads:
As also we read in the Hebrew Gospel that the Lord spoke to his disciples: ‘And never (he said) be joyful except when you look on your brother with love.’ (Latin: et numquam (inquit) laeti sitis, nisi cum fratrem uestrum uideritis in caritate.)
(Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians 5:4)
As I began restoring the original Hebrew behind this Latin citation, I began to meditate on the full meaning of these lost words of Yeshua. To begin with, the words are clearly an expansion on the Torah command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). But I asked myself, does the passage mean that I can be joyful at no other time than when I am actively looking on my brother with love? What if I am not actively thinking about my brother, one way or another, while experiencing joy? Is that prohibited by this directive? As I pondered these words, I realized that what the saying was truly conveying is the message that one should never derive joy from hating one’s fellow man. This has to do with control over anger and the malicious spirit that comes with anger. Anger is an attempt to turn pain into pleasure. It “feels good” to be angry at someone whom we perceive has harmed us. We want to get back at them, and we entertain a malicious spirit in our hearts. We take joy in hating them… even in hurting them back. This is what Yeshua us addressing.
This brought to my mind another passage Jerome cites from the Gospel according to the Hebrews:
And in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which the Nazaraeans are accustomed to read, one of the greatest sins is ‘He who grieves the spirit of one’s brother. ” (Latin: qui fratis sui spiritum contristaurit.)
(Jerome; Commentary on Ezekiel 18:7)
Suddenly, in a flash of insight, it was revealed to me that these two passages originally went together, as two parts of a single saying. The original Hebrew of the passage read:
לֹא תִּשְׂמַּח בִּלְתִּי אִם רָאִיתָה אֶת אָחִיךָ בְּאַהֲבָה
כִּי הַמַּאֲבִיל אֶת רוּחַ אָחִיו חָטָא חַטַּאת גָּדוֹלָה מְאוֹד
“Never rejoice except when you behold your brother with love; for he who grieves the spirit of his brother has sinned a very great sin.”
(“Never” is implied in לא likewise, Jerome uses Latin numquam (never) for Hebrew לא in Ex. 34:10 in the Latin Vulgate)
This is a beautiful elaboration by the Messiah on the teaching in the Torah:
You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am YHWH. (Lev. 19:18)
This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.
But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.
Donations can be sent by paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053