It must be said firstly that we believers owe a great debt of gratitude to our Hebrew brothers and sisters. After all, where do we get the Scriptures and the belief in the One True God? The last time I noticed there are no Scriptures written by Gentiles! By giving way to prejudice, concerning our Jewish friends, we are breaking Yeshua's commandments. We are not honoring our parents.
If we look at Scripture as simply the "Old" and "New" and if we have a tendency to discard the Old, then we make a grave error.
Blessed are the Israelites and the Jewish people! They were the people chosen to bring the light and truth to our world! Nothing can ever change that! As Gentile believers grafted into the Olive Tree, Israel, we also have that calling. We are not the natural branches so we must not be proud.
Amazingly, there are churches that actively speak out against Israel, the modern nation and spiritual Israel. IMO, these churches are Antichrist - assemblies of Ha Satan!
So, what follows are some basic tenants I've observed while studying Hebrew Roots. To even make a list like this is contrary to the movement. "Statements of Faith", ET AL, are for those Nicolaitan organizations that wish to entrap people. Hebraic Roots is here to set people free from all that.
But I'm doing this because of requests from sincere, beloved people who are seriously considering leaving their church or synagogue. People are beginning to realize their churches and synagogues are not speaking truthfully and they're looking for answers!
1. There is no denomination, or even a name for what is referred to as Hebrew Roots. A movement in the spirit has to be referred to as something so most people say Hebraic (Hebrew) Roots. I have heard it said that Hebrew Roots is the closest thing we have to First Century Apostolic worship.
2. "HR", Hebrew Roots, is not Messianic Judaism. My wife and I attended a Messianic Jewish Synagogue for about a year and a half. Messianic Judaism is an attempt to introduce traditional Jewish folks, raised in Judaism, to Christ (Yeshua Ha Mashiach), by establishing a traditional, cultural synagogue setting for them to feel comfortable in. One problem we have in churches is that Jewish folks tend to lose their cultural identity. Messianic Judaism tries very hard to keep that identity. "MJ" synagogues may be run with or without "Rabbinical authority". You have to decide if you like MJ or not. We decided not. However, these folks are very sincere and truly believe in Yeshua. But, they are not HR. I would argue they are more like - Judaism light. BTW, I was raised Pentecostal and my wife was raised Catholic. (what a combo, hey? - we've been happily married 33 years) : )
3. While on that point, HR is not Rabbinical. Hebrew Roots folks do not follow a Rabbi, or Rabbinical teaching. HR folks are well aware of the Takanot and Ma'asim of the Pharisees. (look at my last two blog entries - you'll understand what these two man-made traditions represent)
4. HR folks do follow Torah! Wait a minute! You just said HR is not Rabbinical so why follow Torah? The answer is because Torah is not Rabbinical! Torah is the set of instructions provided to Moshe (Moses) by Yehovah (YHVH). Over time, the religious leaders amongst the Israelites have added to and subtracted from Torah - just like our Pastors and Priests in the church have added tradition to alter true worship. The good book explicitly says DON'T DO THIS! The Talmud, Mishnah, and Oral Law are not Torah. They are "traditions of men", exactly what Jesus warned us about!
5. So, does this mean HRs don't eat pork and shellfish? Yes, it means that we try to follow the dietary instructions of Torah. Does the N.T. allow for eating unclean foods? No it doesn't! HR folks are well aware of the translation errors in our various N.T. translations and try very hard to "iron them out". So, this means HR folks celebrate Shabbat (the Sabbath) and celebrate the 7 Feasts of the LORD (plus Chanukah). We do not celebrate Christmas, Easter, Sunrise Services, or Halloween. All these holidays are pagan!
6. By "ironing out" translation problems doesn't it mean you're trying to massage them to your liking? No, HR folks try to find the root meaning behind every bit of Scripture. All Scripture is present for a reason. The Scripture is directly related to the culture, history, and time of the statement in addition to it's spiritual meaning. This is why the Septuagint and Kararite Jews are important. The Septuagint is a well honored translation of the Hebrew Tanahk into Greek. This makes translation of the N.T. better and more easily understood. Using this, along with a solid review of the known manuscripts make for a better understanding of the text. Don't I trust the translations we have already? No, it's a shame to say, but most of our translations are full of anti-Semitic prejudicial error and biased editing. This doesn't mean that our translations don't contain spiritual truth! I believe in the inerrant Word of God! I just don't believe in errant man! Kararite Judaism is a form of Judaism that does not follow Rabbis, but instead has historically followed the Torah only. They are a good reference when studying things related to Torah. Nehemiah Gordon, a very respected, famous, Kararite scholar and linguist, has said that, "even though he doesn't believe Yeshua is the Mashiach, what's clear (from the B'rit Hadashah) is that he (Jesus) kept Torah perfectly". That quote is from my memory folks, remembered from a talk he gave.
Here's one small example of Scripture that the church sometimes gets wrong. The church told me this was an example of Christ's humanity, His "moment of doubt", on the Cross:
Mat 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
(shown also in Mark 15:34)
Actually, Jesus was quoting Psalm 22. Or, at least trying to, midst the pain and suffering. Psalm 22 is that majestic, tearful, passage in the Tanahk which describes Yeshua's horrible crucifixion, long before it actually happened. Jesus was trying to tell people - I AM THE ONE DESCRIBED IN PSALM 22! Your Mashiach! Strange isn't it, that most Preachers do not know about this, or perhaps, don't wish to speak of it? Did you know that approximately 80% of the N.T. is actually a quote from the O.T.?
7. So, how is Hebrew Roots different from Judaism? Judaism is a man-made construct created and "managed" by men - Rabbis. You are under a Rabbi in Judaism. He has become your "cover". It has it's various sects just like Christianity. Whereas Christianity and all of it's denominations get it's marching orders from Rome and the "Church Fathers" starting with Eusebius (arguably) and continuing forward in history, Judaism gets it's marching orders from Rabbis and the writings in the Talmud, Mishnah, and Oral Law. And, of course, the Torah and Tanahk, as well. HR gets it marching orders from Yeshua (who is YHVH) and the Tanahk (Torah and Prophets) and the B'rit Hadashah (N.T.). In HR no man is your head or cover! Jesus is a man's cover! Any church or synagogue that claims to be HR and belongs to a hierarchical, Nicolaitan organization is fooling people. It's not HR!
8. Wait a minute! Haven't there been changes, updates in the Torah since the N.T. times? Yes! However, in Matt. 5:18 Yeshua states that not one "jot" or "tiddle" has been done away with in the Torah. If you can't understand that you will not understand anything as it relates to your Sanctification through the Holy Spirit and Torah. You see, the good book also states that Torah is in the process of being fulfilled, that is, filled to it's complete and most extensive fruition. Do we still have animal sacrifice? No, because that system of the Aaronic Priesthood died long ago through misuse and ruination by the traditions of men and has been destroyed. Was the biblical Aaronic Priesthood active during Yeshua's time? No, it wasn't (Zechariah being an exception). It had already been replaced by Hellenistic and Roman authority. Will a third Temple be built and animal sacrifice once again take place? Perhaps, but it won't be for the forgiveness of sins, but to fulfill Scripture. Yeshua re-introduced the always existing Malki-Tzedek line of royal Priesthood, which had been instituted from Genesis - Adam being the first. Yeshua came to repair the misuse of Torah and to present a New Covenant based directly on the "Spirit and Truth" of Torah. Do we still practice circumcision? I don't know about you, but my son is circumcised and so am I! In fact, it has been medically proven to be a healthy practice and is especially good to be done on the 8th day, as Torah states, when the baby is loaded with natural antibodies. Is circumcision necessary for Salvation? Of course not, and never was!
Gal 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
You see, no man is justified by the Law (Torah). Even Jews know that! HR folks do not see the Torah as a means for Salvation! It is a means of Sanctification! If you really love Jesus, if you really desire to get close to Him, you will follow His commandments by practicing Torah!
A Christian friend said to me, "I have Torah written on my heart, therefore I don't need to follow Torah." I answered, "Great! I'm so happy for you! But please tell me, why do you still watch dirty movies, go to church on Sunday, drink 'til drunkenness, and celebrate Christmas and Easter?" He didn't know what to say! Why? Because he DOES NOT have Torah written on his heart! My "friend" does not live by the spirit of the law. Here's an example:
(the LETTER OF THE LAW)
Mat 5:28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(the SPIRIT OF THE LAW)
Mat 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
"a" = WITHOUT
"Nomia" = TORAH!
If you want more, here are 281 Bible verses admonishing us to follow Torah.
Do you still want to dismiss Torah? Do you still want to dismiss the Hebrew Roots movement?