There was, between the years 70 AD and 325 AD (and well beyond), a great persecution of Jews by the state of Rome. This persecution was a key and overwhelming factor in the decision of the increasingly gentile church to separate themselves from the Jewish people and all of their practices – by such separation, they distanced themselves from Roman suspicion and persecution.
So, ultimately, it was avoidance of persecution and politics that generated the “new religion” called Christianity. As we will demonstrate elsewhere, the original church of Jesus day was actually considered a sect of Judaism. Here are just a few examples of this persecution:
- Tacitus gives an estimate of 600,000 Jewish fatalities in the 70AD war.
- Vespasian initiated a Ficus Judaicus (Jewish fiscal tax) on all Jews. This tax was later increased by Dominitian and Hadrian. No other religion paid such a tax.
- Dio Cassius notes that 580,000 Jews were killed in the Barkokeba war.
- Hadrian (117-138) outlawed the Jewish religion and the observance of the Sabbath.
Considering these factors (and many more too numerous to mention here), and the fact that the non-believing Jews were also making life difficult for the believers, is it not possible, even likely, that early Christians might want to separate themselves from such persecution?
So we must consider that the reasons for doing away with the commandments of God, the observance of the Sabbath day, and the keeping of the feasts of the Lord, may have been based on avoiding persecution, and not based upon sound theological doctrine and divine inspiration.