Vince, you wrote: >>> What makes you think The earliest "version" of Christianity was somehow more 'pure' than the later evolved version? <<<
..... Definition of 'pure'? The groups of John the Baptist, and of the slightly different later group with Jesus, apparently thought that the current military occupation of their country was the result of (God's punishment for) the past non-obedience of the Jews there to God's requirements, and therefore they provided alternative groups of people who not only repented their past sins, and promised/vowed to sin no more, but from then on at all times OBEYED God, their king and boss. Jesus' group went further than John's, by helping the deserving misfits (they made a mess of their lives so far) to restart their life, as "born again children" in the alternative society and loving, caring "family" called "The Kingdom of God". Yes, these people were actually much 'purer' than the outsiders who were still in "The World". Probably these people were concerned about how, (by first helping God?) to get God to help them get rid of the Romans, never mind about the Messiah theory in the (never never?) future believed in by the mainline Jews.
>>> Didn't it start out as a "kingdom/messiah" thing? Wasn't the focus primarily on the re-establishment of David's kingdom and an autonomous "Israel" ? <<<
..... Yes, eventually, but the FIRST version Christianity Jews probably wanted to get God to help them get rid of the Romans as the first step. Compare with the later 2 revolts (in years 68-70 and 133?) in which God did NOT help the regular Jews (and many of the members of the by then paganized post-Jesus versions of Christianity were on the Romans' side?).