The writings herein reflect the views of the authors based upon their research into extra-Biblical writings and commentaries. Some of the comments counter what is written in the Bible, but they do reflect some early Christian and Jewish-Christian thinking and debates over various Christian theology of that time.
The Essenes, the Ebionites or Nazoreans believed as did some Gnostics, that the Old Testament had become corrupt and the teachings within it were, in part, the work of a demon or wicked angel, especially the book of "Leviticus". One idea these groups held was that the once true law of God, had been corrupted by and evil demon, perhaps one called "Leviathan", for it is from this demonic name that the Jewish priesthood took their name: the "Levites".
When reading this material, keep in mind, that the above groups mentioned, did not have a problem with the Hebrew Prophets, only the Priesthood. Unfortunately, the Jewish authorities usually sided with the Priests and not the Prophets. The Bible records that the early believers in Jesus taught the same thing: read, for example, what Stephen has to say to the Jewish leaders of his day in the following passage taken from the Book of Acts: "You stubborn and stiff-necked people, still heathen and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. As your forefather [were], so you [are and so you do]! [Exodus 33:3,5; Num. 27:14; Isa.63:10; Jer. 6:10; 9:26]" "Which of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute?"...(Acts 7: 51 & 52 TAB)
According to ancient scrolls, Barnabas, states that: "...the laws of the book of Leviticus are the work of a wicked angel." Further, according to another early Christian document, the Apostle Peter stated that the whole of the Old Testament had been interpolated and corrupted by the Devil himself. Writings found at Qumran confirm that the Essenes believed that the Jewish Priesthood had be infiltrated by the works of demons, especially one called Belial. (See Dr. Theodore Gaster's writings on the Dead Sea Scrolls)
The Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah knew that evil had infiltrated not only the Jewish Priesthood, but also, the scribes. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction. Trust ye not in lying words... How can you say `We are wise and the law of the Lord is with us?' Behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie." (Jeremiah 5:31, 7:14, 8:8) Again, the Essenes taught the same thing; according to Dr. Theodore Gaster the Essenes said that the people had been lead astray by lying priests and scribes. (Two of the worst to change scripture, in my opinion, were Ezra and another was Josiah. Unfortunately, to go into this would make this posting too long.
Jesus Condemns Jewish Religious Practices:
Jesus himself tells us that the Jewish Religion had become corrupt:... "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the Law." (John 7:20). We read in Mark 7:13 the following..."Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." A clearer rendition is given in the NEB, it states..." Thus by your own tradition, handed down among you, you make God's word null and void. And many other things that you do are just like that."
Speaking again to the Jews, Jesus says..."Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." (John 8:44 KJV). Jesus is referring here to the Jewish Religious Elite and Political authorities; in no way is Jesus being anti-Semitic, nor is he referring to the Jewish people themselves. (Jesus himself was Jewish hence, it would be silly to suggest that he was anti-Semetic.) The Hebrew people were caught between the Satanic Levitical Priesthood on one side and the Holy Inspired and God Fearing Prophets on the other. Unfortunately, the Priesthood won the upper hand and the Prophets lost out; again, keep in mind that (in my opinion) all this happened according to divine plan.
The early Ebionites and Christians were leftover supporters of the Prophets. They had been preserved and maintained by God in order to bring about the right teachings at the appropriate time.
This ends part (one)