The Influence of the Hebrew Roots movement (HRM) has grown by leaps and bounds over the last century in America. It’s impact in this end time is being felt in all areas of Christendom of those who call Jesus Lord. For those who are Born of the Spirit, if they are Bereans and study the scriptures comparing this movement with the Gospel given to the NT church, they would see bright flashing danger signs. Sad to say, many are being deceived.
The Hebrew Roots Movement which encompasses Messianic Judaism and both in fact are one and the same, just packaged differently in order to deceive more people, is gaining momentum in these last days. While Messianic Judaism is more Christ oriented, it is really just a stepping stone to the HRM. Many Jews who have accepted Christ as Messiah, are attempting as the Jewish Christians in the early church, to mesh Grace with Judaism under the Old Covenant, making all inclusive with one another the Works of the Law, as well as the ordinances, such as the Sabbath and other holy days and combining them with Christianity. The great Apostle Paul had much to say about this in his letters to the early church. Read the book of Galatians where Paul addresses this heresy and warns the early church that if they follow this teaching, they have fallen from grace.
True Christians are very vulnerable because of their God-given love for the Jewish people and Israel. We long to be one with them. We love the rich heritage of God’s chosen people in the natural and we love Israel and Jerusalem, the City God chose as his own. God will restore Israel, but God 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 for the sin of the world and trusting in his blood and grace alone is all sufficient for sin. Any thing added to that or taken away from that, makes his death in vain and that’s what I see happening with those who follow Messianic Judaism and the HRM.
Some of the errors in the HRM, or ANY, for that matter, who classify themselves Messianic Jews today 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, inspired from the Hand of God, 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 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 even gone so far (some of them) 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 seen in Catholicism. 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!
Another huge problem to this movement is that it seems only the Jewish converts and/or rabbis can read and interpret the Hebrew texts which THEY SAY are the authentic and correct New Testament. Out goes the Greek NT you have in the KJV, and in comes the Judaic version with its priests and rabbis. But, Jesus is our High-Priest and the Holy Spirit is our teacher, we do not need man to teach us and if we submit to the teaching of man, whether Jewish Rabbi or Fundamentalist preacher, we will be led astray.
This movement 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:
the ‘SECOND’ 8:7,
the ‘BETTER,’ 7:22.
The Torah and Old Covenant made with Israel did not lead the Jewish people into all truth, because it was weak and unable to save their souls – all it was able to do, was push their sins forward year after year. But when Jesus came, he brought to man what the Old Covenant could never bring. He wrote the Law upon our hearts (not the ordinances of the OT,) but the moral laws of God. Those things that the Jews could never do, because sin lived within them he gave us power to do.
The Jews had no trouble keeping the ordinances, feasts, festivals and holy days. However, the Ten Commandments (Moral Law of God) they could not keep. While they added much religious tradition to the Law given on Mt. Sinai, it was a yoke the people could not bear. Jesus took that old yoke away when he signed in blood the New Covenant given for the sins of the world. But the HRM’s intent is to keep the Old Covenant (that yoke of bondage) and add it to the New Covenant of Grace. So what becomes their top priority?:
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 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.
Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believes. (Rm. 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 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 “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, for in so doing we are bringing back the King.