August 27, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
I want to remind you of our two foundational scriptures that we have been referencing over the course of this series. I refer to Jude 3 and 1 Timothy 4:1. In the case of Jude believers are admonished to, contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. [Jude 3 NKJV] Earnestly contend is from a Greek word that indicates an intense struggle to the point of agony. How many believers do you know that committed to the defense of truth from error and false doctrine? Yet, that is what we are to be. Why is this contention necessary? Paul writes in our second foundational text, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. [1 Tim. 4:1 NKJV] As we have pointed out in a previous post, expressly is from a Greek word that indicates speaking in an outspoken or forthright manner. This message was to be not only clearly understood, but heeded.
Make no mistake about it, in these last of the Last Days truth is under attack like never before. The winds of doctrine are blowing, and far too many Christians are being blown in every direction by them. What is our defense? Becoming so familiar with and grounded in truth, and by that I mean solid Biblical doctrine, to the point that error is easily recognizable and discernible. The need for this is what has prompted me to write this series of articles. Believers in this hour need to understand what they believe. They need to know and understand essential Christian doctrine. What are the essential doctrines? In other words, the core truths that every true born-again believer subscribes to. They are,
The authority and inerrancy of the scriptures (autographs)
The Nature of God
Christ’s Death, Burial & Resurrection
The Holy Spirit
For an in-depth explanation of these essential doctrines visit, http://defendchrist.org/essentials.html. The truly interesting thing that I have discovered in doing the research for this current series is that all four of these false systems we are examining denigrate, distort, and in many cases outright deny essential Christian doctrine. Their primary target seems to be the cross. We come this time to the third in our list of four false doctrines,
3. THE HEBREW ROOTS MOVEMENT (HRM):
This particular movement has gained an increasing level of popularity over the past few years. The truly alarming thing to me is the influence I see this particular movement having on so many within the Christian Church. Christians are told for their prayers to truly connect with and be heard by God they need to send them to Jerusalem to be placed in the “Wailing Wall”, which is supposedly a special “hot line” directly to God. Believers are taught to speak special Jewish blessings over their family and finances, all while wearing a “Prayer Shawl” specially designed to aid specific praying.
Believers are being taught that they can never possibly understand their Bibles unless they learn Jewish customs, laws, and traditions. We are also being told that the “deep truths” of God are “hidden” in extra biblical books like the Jewish and Babylonian Talmud or Mishnah. What in the world is going on? This can all be traced directly to the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM).
What is the basic premise of this movement? The premise of the Hebrew Roots movement is the belief that the Christian Church has veered far from the true teachings and Hebrew concepts of the Bible. The movement maintains that Christianity has been indoctrinated with the culture and beliefs of Greek and Roman philosophy and that ultimately biblical Christianity, taught in churches today, has been corrupted with a pagan imitation of the New Testament Gospels.
They don’t believe that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross ended the Mosaic Covenant, but rather that it renewed it, expanded its message, and wrote it on the hearts of His true followers. True Christians seem to be especially vulnerable because of our God-given love for the Jewish people and Israel. We long to be one with them. It is important to note that while God will restore Israel, He will not restore the old Judaic Religious System, because Christ came to fulfill what that system could never do. The laws, ordinances, feasts and festivals all pointed to Christ, but they were only a shadow of the true. The Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world brought to man in completion what was only a promise to those who lived under the Old Covenant.
Those who know Christ in His fulness will not and cannot hold onto or return to the old religious system under the Law. For when they receive Christ they are set free from the law of sin and death, which is what the OT law was. Jesus Christ is not a religious system and He denounced the Religious Jews who followed the Law with studious and practiced devotion, because He knew it could not save them. Christ Jesus is unique and His ministry was unique in that He showed us the only way to the Father, He is the Lord God who came to die on the cross for the sin of the world and trusting in His blood and grace alone is all sufficient for sin. Anything added to that or taken away from that, makes His death in vain and that is what I see happening with those who follow Messianic Judaism and the HRM.
Some of the errors in the HRM are:
1. They call for Christians to recognize extra-biblical Jewish books, which are supposed to give fuller understanding of the Greek New Testament. In fact some go so far as to proclaim the Hebrew scriptures are the authentic scriptures, not the Greek text of the KJV Bible. The New Testament was given in its original, inspirired by the Holy Spirit, in Greek, not Hebrew. Most of the extra-biblical Hebrew “scriptures” that the HRM is seeking to foist onto the Christian Church are ancient writings, often with occult and mystical sources, traditional material which are not scripture at all. They are extra-biblical sources of knowledge.
The Bible was written in 3 languages:
1. Hebrew was the original language of the Old Testament.
2. Aramaic was the language of the far east until the time of Alexander the Great.
3. Greek was the New Testament language and the International language at the time of Christ.
But yet the Hebrew Roots Movement claims falsely that the original gospels were written in Hebrew, or possibly Aramaic, and that the Greek New Testament is a mere translation and in some cases a mis-translation of the Hebrew or Aramaic originals. They have gone to conclude that Paul’s writings where he addressed the heresy they teach, were re-written by Rome and are not authentic. Of course they cannot prove this, but it is enough to cast doubt in their adherents and justify themselves in their error.
The Canon of Scripture is closed and preserved by the Lord in the Greek language. Whether Christians are from Jewish backgrounds or not, we must all recognize the authority of God’s Word, as given to us in the Canon of Holy Scripture. No other books can or should be added to this Canon.
While Catholics also add to the Canon of Scripture extra-biblical books and teach much apostasy, the same pattern is seen in the Hebrew Roots Movement as. Both add works to divine grace making the grace of Christ of no effect. The Bible is divinely inspired by God from Genesis to Revelation, no other writings are necessary for understanding the Bible. The Holy Spirit reveals the Word to us and we do not need that any man teach us. No other authority can be accepted. Jewish extra-biblical writings do NOT enlighten Christians as to the “hidden meanings” of Scripture. The deep things of God are shown to surrendered Christians by the Holy Spirit opening Scripture and making the Bible plain.
This movement, and I say this as kindly as I can, is seeking to cast doubt on the faith once delivered to the church by challenging the very Scriptures we have been given by the Lord. They claim Christians can’t fully understand the Scripture until we understand the Torah. But the opposite is true. You will not understand the OT (or the Torah) until you have true revelation of the NT. And if you have true revelation of the NT, you will not allow yourself to fall back under the weak system of the Old Covenant, because you will know the liberty you have found in Christ fulfills all.
The Old Testament (or Torah) is not the greater revelation, nor does the OT shine light on the NT, the NT opens and reveals the OT and shows what the symbols and shadows really meant. The DEEPER things of God are found in the NT, not the OT, because Christ is revealed in all of his glory in the NT. We are rooted, all of us, in CHRIST and while the OT is filled with the glory of the Lord, the NT opens up and reveals His glory in splendor and shows us that intimacy with Christ comes through his sacrifice which surpasses all that went before. Emphasis on the Torah over the NT is emphasizing that which could not save. The Holy Spirit given to all those who are in Christ Jesus, gives us understanding and leads us into all truth, not the Torah.
Jesus instituted a New and Better Covenant with those who believed on him. To Give greater credence to the Torah attempts to alter that Blood-bought covenant by adding back to it the lesser system of the Old Covenant, which was totally fulfilled in Christ.
This covenant is called the:
2. Keeping the Law of Moses with all of the ordinances of the OT Law.
However, Christians under the New Covenant have a much higher calling to holiness than did the Old Testament saints under the Law of Moses.
The Word says, “The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24-25). HRM is seeking to bring us back under the schoolmaster. The scripture further states, Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believes. (Rom. 10:4); “The Law and the prophets were until John the Baptist (Luke 16:16); “The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John. 1:17). I’m going to say something a little controversial here, I don’t believe we should be observing the feasts or the Sabbath or any of the Jewish holy days, because Paul warned us that, “After that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” He clarifies exactly what he means by his next words: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid [for] you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Gal. 4:10-11).
If we in any way try to keep the Law of Moses or keep all of these OT ordinances, Christ has become no effect to us, because whether you realize it or not you’re striving to be justified by the Law. Paul says those that do this have fallen from grace. (Gal. 5:4).
Galatians 5:18 says “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.”
Titus 1:14 says not to give heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men, for those that do have turned from the truth.
I believe the Hebrew Roots organizations have become the modern equivalent of the Judaisers who followed the Apostle Paul from city to city, spying on the NT believers’ liberty in Christ and striving to pervert the Gospel and cause confusion among the Early Christians. When these Judaisers sought to draw the Christians of the Galatian church back under the Judaic Religious System, Paul warned the Galatian church to not give credence to their arguments for they were perverting the Gospel of Christ.
Instead of Christ alone, the HRM and Messianic Jewish Movement over-balance into the religion that they have never really left! They cannot grasp that ALL is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, but they want the Christians to embrace the O.T. Jewish religious beliefs, ordinances, and traditions that were necessary under the Law as well!
I believe this movement is part and parcel of the Great Apostasy that is invading Christianity in these last days on the same level as Catholicism, Word of Faith, Kingdom Now theology, and many others.
We must be bereans in these last days and keep our eyes on our Savior who bought us with his precious blood and not exchange the gift of grace for the weak and beggerly system of observing the Jew’s Religion under the Law.
At the same time, we must pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
The Weekly Word is found in Luke 8:18. Here the Bible says,
I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth? [Luke 18:8 YLT]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson