• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Doublemindedness in the Hebrew Roots Movement – The Use of Kabbalah and Gematria

The doublemindedness of those in the Hebrew Roots Movement who rely upon Jewish Sages and Scholars to uncover “hidden revelation” or to “peel back the layers of prophecy and bring deeper understanding to the Scriptures” is stunning.

Looking to Jewish Sages and Scholars by default makes use of Kabbalah and Gematria, as Kabbalah and Gematria are where the Sages and Scholars acquire portions of their “wisdom” and “insight”.  This reliance in the HRM is almost universal, from the mainstream to the outer fringes of the movement.  That a number of unsuspecting believers is being lured into a belief system with ties to the Occult is deeply troubling.

Some will balk at this assertion.  If, however, one takes a hard look at the Talmud and Jewish Sages and Scholars, and looks at all of the contributing elements affecting them throughout history, one cannot escape at the very least the influence of Kabbalah on Talmudic scholarship and teachings.  I hesitate to offer too much documentation for the charge, as I don’t want to open wide a portal here at JGIG into anything having to do with the occult  (see “Note to Readers” below).

Other than a supposed superior take on the language of the New Testament as a main pillar in the Hebrew Roots Movement, (see Hebrew Roots Movement – Messin’ With the Word) another self-touted pillar in the HRM is their claim that they have purified their form of worship to be free from all pagan influence. They make much of the pagan practices they say have permeated the Church, and how we, as believers, should determine to set ourselves apart from such practices.

Yet significant portions of HRM teachings and doctrines come from the “wisdom and insight” gleaned from the aforementioned Jewish Sages and Scholars, with their “wisdom and insight” coming from the Talmud, which in turn is influenced by Kabbalistic teachings, which are rooted in the Occult.

From an Ed Nelson (a Hebrew Roots Movement apologist) review of a book by Brad Young, “Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus” (entire review can be read HERE):

Brad H. Young is well-known for his scholarly research on the life of Jesus and his contributions to the Jewish-Christian dialogue. Author of “Jesus the Jewish Theologian” and “Paul the Jewish Theologian”, in his latest book, “Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus”, he continues to illustrate the place and value of rabbinic teachings for understanding the New Testament and the historical Jesus.

. . . The New Testament documents and the historical Jesus are verifiably Hebraic in origin and mission, Young says. In this vein, he takes a pre-first century and first century approach within the rabbinic traditions of Jewish faith to explain the New Testament and present the historical Jesus.

“I want readers to begin with what they know about the teachings of Jesus,” Young says, “and by associative method, to introduce them to the world of Jewish Torah learning.” His enthusiasm spills, “I believe that Christians particularly will enjoy studying the Talmud because ancient Judaism is the root that nourishes the branch.”

In reality, it is Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last . . . the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. (See Revelation 22:12-16)  Our nourishment comes from Jesus Christ, who purchased us at great cost at the Cross.  I don’t see anything in the Scriptures about ancient Judaism holding such a lofty place as Jesus Christ.  For a study in the Talmudic view of Jesus Christ, click HERE.  Back to the review from Ed Nelson:

Through the book Young is careful to introduce the Torah-based wisdom of the Second Temple Era sages and post-temple era rabbis. “Like the rabbis,” he writes, “Jesus viewed his teachings on Torah as fulfilling the original purpose of the divine revelation from Mount Sinai.” Yet, he claims, “Jesus’ interpretation does not make Torah observance easier” but often “more stringent.” He explains, saying that “Jesus urges his followers to control their thought process as well as their actions.”

The above paragraph puts the emphasis on what we  have to do to observe Torah, in fact making the already impossible absolutely unattainable, as the emphasis is not now just on our actions in relation to Torah obedience, but also our thoughts in relation to Torah obedience.  God loves us far too much to assign us such a task.  An excellent article by a Jewish Christian regarding this concept can be found HERE.  New Covenant thinking according to Scripture is partially about how we become new creatures in Christ, going from spiritual death to spiritual life, which Jesus Christ accomplished at the Cross and with His Resurrection.  He met ALL that the Law requires of us.  It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, renewing our minds and hearts to conform progressively in our thoughts and actions to the requirements of God and His righteousness.  This sanctification is evidenced by the demonstrable Fruits of the Spirit in our lives, not by how well we keep the Law.  Beware of any teaching which takes the focus off of Christ and what He did and puts the focus on you and what you have to do for God to be acceptable to Him.  More from Ed Nelson’s review:

Chapter 11 is the heart and soul of the book. In this section are annotated lists of names of sages and rabbisof the Tannaic and Amoraim periods from 20 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.. Because of their immersion in oral tradition, Young calls them “walking books” of commentary on the Torah. These rabbis, depicted in charts and lists, were major links in “the chain of Torah learning from one generation to the next.”

The Issue Measured Against Scripture

Understand that the above is an example of the theological workings within the Hebrew Roots Movement mindset.  There is no mention of the Church (Body of Christ) as depicted in the Epistles, no mention of the repentant, redeemed believer being a new creation in Christ having passed from spiritual death to spiritual life, no mention of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

Brad Young refers to the Talmud above.  What exactly is the Talmud?  Basically, it’s a compilation of Rabbinic commentary and opinion about the Tanakh (Old Testament Scriptures).  Rabbis, (Sages and Scholars - mentors in spiritual and philosophical topics who are renowned for profound wisdom) over time, have expanded upon and debated the Scriptures, adding to the mix a good portion of “Oral Tradition” as well as allowing the use of Kabbalah to creep into and influence the final outcome.  For a basic overview on the definition and structure of the Talmud, click HERE.  For a basic grasp on the different facets and sects of Judaism, click HERE.  For an enlightning website “What Jews Believe”, click HERE.

Do you begin to see a fatal disconnect in the HRM belief system here?

Here is “Joe” or “Josephine” Christian, drawn into the Hebrew Roots Movement, in part because they have a desire to reject anything pagan.  Over time, by studying HRM doctrine, they come to believe that they are commanded to hold to the practice of Torah observance.  In turn, to support HRM doctrine, they are led to the “wisdom and insight” of the Sages and Scholars who in turn have drawn from the well of Kabbalah, which is rooted in the Occult.  How can the Christian reconcile those sources and their practices with what Torah observance requires of them?  Torah categorically prohibits the people of God from participating in any form of divination, [the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means] meaning all practices rooted in the Occult, which would obviously include Jewish Mystical practices such as Kabbalah and Gematria.

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.  You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”  (Dueteronomy 18:9-13) 

Warnings against such practices are contained in the New Testament as well:

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.  They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.  (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.  Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”  This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.  To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.  (Titus 1:10-16)

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.  I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.  (Revelation 22:12-16)

Is it not stunning that the Hebrew Roots Movement, in is its determination to avoid paganism, finds it acceptable to make use of practices with roots in the Occult to support their belief system? 

Kabbalah and Gematria Defined

I’ve gone back and forth on how much information I’m willing to include here regarding Kabbalah and Gematria (Hebrew numerology).  From the entry “Kabbalah” in an upcoming glossary here at JGIG:

Kabbalah (Kabalah, Caballa, Qaballah)Note to readers: It is my intent to NOT detail too much about the occultic aspects of the Hebrew Roots Movement.  Not wanting this site to be a potential gateway for exposing someone to facets of the occult, references to and descriptions of Kabbalah, etc. will be limited. 

Part of the reason for this is that *I* choose not to expose myself to the in-depthstudy of such things.  For me, this is discernment at a very basic and important real-life level of application.  There is no value in passing on information beyond something along the lines of “this doctrine/practice is rooted in Kabbalah/Gemetria” and leaving it at that.  Those practices are from the Pit, and while we need to recognize them when they cross our paths, a quick recognition and prompt rejection is what God calls us to. 

That said, basic definitions to facilitate that recognition will be provided here at JGIG.

From Wikipedia (entire article is available HERE)“Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‎, lit. “receiving”) is a discipline and school of thought discussing the mystical aspect of Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings meant to define the inner meaning of both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and traditional Rabbinic literature, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.[1] 

. . . According to the Zohar, generally considered the foremost kabbalistic text, Torah study uses four levels (PaRDeS) of interpretation (exegesis) of its text:[2]

  • Peshat (lit. “simple”)—the direct meaning.
  • Remez (lit. “hint[s]“)—the allegoric meaning (through allusion).
  • Derash (from Heb. darash: “inquire” or “seek”)—midrashic (Rabbinic) or comparative meaning.
  • Sod (lit. “secret” or “mystery”)—the inner meaning—a foundation of the kabbalah.

One Concept of Kabbalah

Kabbalah is considered, by its followers, as a necessary part of the study of Torah — the study of Torah (the Law of God) being an inherent duty of observant Jews.[3] Kabbalah teaches doctrines that are accepted by some Jews as the true meaning of Judaism while other Jews have rejected these doctrines as heretical and antithetical to Judaism.

The origins of the actual term Kabbalah are unknown and disputed to belong either to Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021 – 1058) or else to the 13th century CE Spanish Kabbalist Bahya ben Asher. While other terms have been used in many religious documents from the 2nd century CE up to the present day, the term Kabbalah has become the main descriptive of Jewish esoteric knowledge and practices. The Kabbalistic literature, which served as the basis for most of the development of Kabbalistic thought, divides between early works such as Heichalot and Sefer Yetzirah (believed to be dated 1st or 2nd Century CE) and later works dated to the 13th century CE, of which the main book is the Zohar representing the main source for the Contemplative Kabbalah (Kabbalah Iyunit).

According to Kabbalistic tradition, knowledge was transmitted orally by the Patriarchs, prophets, and sages (Hakhamim in Hebrew), eventually to be “interwoven” into Jewish religious writings and culture. According to this tradition, Kabbalah was, in around the 10th century BCE, an open knowledge practiced by over a million people in ancient Israel,[4] although there is little objective historical evidence to support this thesis.

From the same Wikipedia article regarding Gematria: 

. . . Among its many pre-occupations, Kabbalah teaches that every Hebrew letter, word, number, even the accent on words of the Hebrew Bible contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these meanings. One such method is as follows:

As early as the 1st Century BCE Jews believed that the Torah (first five books of the Hebrew Bible) contained encoded messages and hidden meanings.  Gematria is one method for discovering its hidden meanings. Each letter in Hebrew also represents a number; Hebrew, unlike many other languages, never developed a separate numerical alphabet. By converting letters to numbers, Kabbalists were able to find a hidden meaning in each word. This method of interpretation was used extensively by various schools.

There is no one fixed way to “do” gematria. Some say there are up to 70 different methods. One simple procedure is as follows: each syllable and/or letter forming a word has a characteristic numeric value. The sum of these numeric tags is the word’s “key”, and that word may be replaced in the text by any other word having the same key. Through the application of many such procedures, alternative or hidden meanings of scripture may be derived. Similar procedures are used by Islamic mystics, as described by Idries Shah in his book, “The Sufis”.

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I found this portrayal of Kabbalah at My Jewish Learning.  An excerpt from “Kabbalah: Origins of a Sprirtual Adventure” :

Basically, kabbalists wanted to transform Judaism into a more profound inner experience; an experience, so they believed, that could not be attained through a rational and intellectual approach to religion. For them Judaism was a system of mystical symbols reflecting the mystery of God and the universe, and their aim was to discover keys to the understanding of this symbolism.

Let’s engage in a little experiment with the paragraph above, shall we?  Let’s substitute the term “Hebrew Roots Movement” for “Kabbalah”, “Christianity” for “Judaism”, apply HRM thinking to the mix, and see what we get:

Basically, the Hebrew Roots Movement wanted to transform Christianity into a more profound inner experience; an experience, so they believed, that could not be attained through a rational and intellectual approach to religion [echos of the "Greek thought vs. Hebraic thought" issue]For them, Christianity was a system of Hebraic symbols reflecting the mystery of God and His Torah, and their aim was to discover keys to the understanding of this symbolism.

Interesting how those paragraphs mesh together conceptually . . .

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First Fruits of Zion would be considered to be a “mainstream” Hebrew Roots Movement organization.  Notice below how they defend Orthodox Judaism and mysticism while trying to distance themselves from Kabbalah.  Keep in mind that Judaism does not in any way, shape, or form support Christianity, but rather vilifies the core beliefs of the Christian faith.  Following is part of this discussion regarding “Benefits of the Synagogue Liturgy” at First Fruits of Zion.  An FFOZ writer states:

“. . . Revelation [the book of] is filled with mystical symbols and teachings. The example cited above is an instance of gematria (numerology). Thus we cannot dismiss Jewish mysticism off hand without casting off our own Scriptures.

“I am concerned about the accusation expressed by many Christians that Orthodox Judaism is replete with Kabbalah, and this Kabbalah is occultic or satanic. To be honest, this sounds to me like a witch hunt or blood libel inspired by centuries of anti-Jewish sentiment. I do not by any means believe that devout Orthodox Judaism represents an occultic religion. I do not mean that all people who are critical of Jewish mysticism are anti-Semitic—it is just that there are anti-Semitic people out there that look for any excuse they can to villianize Jewish people, and it does not take much to trigger and evoke anti-Judaism that lies dormant in a significant segment of our society. It is something we must guard against.  [While I agree that Judaism may not be replete with Kabbalah, it is at the very least influenced by it.  And Kabbalah IS occultic.  And if it is not from God, it IS from Satan.  Bringing that to light is not Anti-Semitic, it's discernment.]

“Kabbalah has many forms.  ‘Pop’ kabbalah, such as the type embraced by celebrities and the Kabbalah Centre is a joke, and it is pagan, and it is indeed occultic. Disciples should denounce and dismiss it. The problem with it is that it lacks Torah as a foundation.  [So, if "Pop" Kabbalah had its foundation in Torah, it would be okay??]

“Neither ‘pop kabbalah’ nor traditional forms of kabbalah will be present in our siddur for several reasons. Kabbalistic prayers and songs will not be included whatsoever. I do not recommend that people study Kabbalah or pray kabbalistic prayers. I myself do not study Kabbalah or pray kabbalistic prayers.  [By allowing Rabbinic literature to seep into their teachings, FFOZ, while not overtly recommending forms of Kabbalah, by default is allowing Kabbalah to shape their doctrine, based on what we know about Rabbinic literature.]

“Even healthy mysticism is a dangerous topic.  ["Healthy" mysticism?]  Until modern times, mystical study was traditionally restricted to advanced Torah scholars advanced in age and study. Without a solid Torah foundation, mysticism can easily [lead] to heresy and error. That is one important reason that FFOZ and I do not recommend that people study it.

“I myself continue to struggle to understand the peshat (plain meaning) of the Scriptures.  [Notice "peshat" is the first part of "PaRDeS" - see "Zohar" in above Wikipedia article]  I do not even feel qualified to delve into healthy forms of mystical study.  [Again, "healthy"?]  And if I ever get to the point where I feel the need to do so, there is enough mysticism in the books of John, Jude and Revelation to keep me busy for a lifetime.

“We as a movement need to stay away from mental exercises and occupy ourselves with texts that we can understand plainly and that have a practical impact on the way we live out Torah as disciples of Yeshua.

“Allow me to repeat: ‘Pop Kabbalah’ IS occultic, non-biblical, and must be condemned and avoided. As I have previously stated, neither I nor FFOZ endorse or encourage study of any kind of Kabbalah.”  [Yet FFOZ continues to rely on Rabbinic sources as foundational, which are, at the very least, influenced  by Kabbalah.  If  you do the following searches at FFOZ, as of this writing, these are the results:  "Rabbinic" = 53 results, "Sages" = 69 results, "Scholars" = 40 results, "Rabbinic literature" = 20 results.  Doublemindedness.]

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Those of you in the Hebrew Roots Movement recognize certain terms and concepts in the article excerpts above.  Do you see the disconnect in avoiding all things pagan while at the same time embracing the “wisdom and insight” of the Sages and Scholars knowing what you now know?  Does it unnerve you to know the true origins of such things?  Do you perhaps recognize a need to investigate further where the teachings and doctrines you have become familiar with and hold to really come from, and, more importantly, where those teachings and doctrines are taking you?

Jewish Sages and Scholars to “Restore” First Century Christianity?

As if engaging in or relying upon a methodology influenced by the Occult weren’t enough, the Hebrew Roots Movement has another major problem in attempting to interpret the Gospel and New Testament doctrine through the “wisdom and insight” of Jewish Sages and Scholars:

Jewish Sages and Scholars have absolutely no interest in establishing the Messiahship and Deity of Jesus Christ.  They are Rabbis.  Their religion is Judaism.  Judaism is focused on what man has to do to meet the requirements of a Holy God rather than on what God has done through the Messiah to meet His requirements of us through His work at the Cross.  They are still looking for a Messiah that has already come.  They do not practice Christianity.  They are not born again and they do not see the Scriptures through eyes that see and ears that hear enabled by the Holy Spirit.

That the Hebrew Roots Movement would rely on the “wisdom and insight” of Jewish Sages and Scholars to try to restore Christianity to its first century moorings is indeed puzzling.  The New Testament is full of accounts of dramatic changes in worship and the living out of one’s new life in Christ after the work of Jesus at the Cross.  The Church (Body of Christ) was established, basic structures of spiritual authority were framed, giftings of the Holy Spirit were poured out upon God’s people – Jew and Gentile alike, now one in Christ – for the furthering of God’s Kingdom.  It was evident that God was doing something quite different after the Cross in and through the lives of His people.

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So Where Does the Study of Numbers Fit in, Scripturally?

Numbers obviously have significance in the Scriptures.  There is a sense of great order and consistency in God’s Word, and some of that is brought about by God’s use of numbers.

From  “Running us in Circles – Why Gematria is occultic and unbiblical – The Inter-mixing of Occult and Christian Terminology and the resulting confusion” at XFOC :

When someone finds the word “Gematria” on the internet, and clicks on it or on the reference pages, are they likely to be led into the freeing truth of “Salvation by faith alone through Jesus Christ”, and how to learn to walk with Him ?

Or are they likely to be led to read books and sources about Gematria and numerology that are anti-Christian – whether by intent or default – because they are leading people AWAY from Jesus Christ, and into a spirituality that ultimately receives information from demonic sources ?

Philosophy that is not Christian – does not automatically have to lead someone towards something which is specifically demonic. But in the case of Gematria, most of the time, that will be the case – unfortunately.

. . . Then there are the issues that arise when God gives his own evaluation of certain numbers – such as 7 being the number of God, and 6 being the number of man.

Those who are Christians who study Biblical numerology often have the same goal:

1. to make sure that God receives credit for what He has done, and

2. to ensure that nothing would detract from the Glory of God, or the accuracy of his Word, the Bible.

Many studies of Biblical prophecy also involve the use of numbers, simply as part of the study.  So – to a certain extent – there is a system of numbers that would seem to apply to the study of the Bible, at least on some levels.

God is the God of Order, who created the universe. This would include mathematical laws and universal constants, so to find or apply some of those concepts to the Bible would not be a surprise, since God is consistent, and the physical laws of the universe He has made would be a demonstration of His glory as well.

The problem comes in when man tries to make something up which is not in the Bible, or when Satan decides to try to corrupt that system.  . . . One of the things that Satan specializes in is the ability to attempt to reverse, or invert – whatever God has established. Satan devises clever counterfeits.

For this page, Gematria is defined differently than “numerology”.  We define numerology as being itself “biblically neutral” – within the strictest confines of the narrow definition of the word itself.

[If] someone wishes to see if the Bible has certain mathematical patterns, and wants to know if that vindicates the Bible, we would only say: go for it. But the concern for us remains that attempts are being made to bypass the plain message of the Bible, and the words that we already understand in plain language.

. . . While Christians should study the Bible, they should stay away from sources that propose to acquaint them with Biblical systems– through anything other than Christian sources, and especially when the sources are from the Occult or the demonic side of spirituality. This is not to prevent anyone from learning, but it is to prevent us from going astray.

Knowledgeable Jewish sources – in some cases – should be given credit for a preferential understanding of 1) the Old Testament Mosaic law on the plain face of the Old Testament and 2) an understanding of the various feasts in the O.T.

Other than these specific areas, we would urge all to be very cautious and wise. There is a good deal of occultic material that is specifically Jewish, that dates back many hundreds of years. It is based on the premise that Jesus Christ is to be rejected as Messiah, and that God still communicates with His chosen people through Gematria, which is an exclusive means of salvation to them. This is a false teaching.

. . . We need to continue to examine the claims of the Kabbalah and any other text according to the Bible. Gematria . . . is something that falls under the category of what is occult and witchcraft, and is taught based on a system of numerology that is a counterfeit system. [Bolding mine.]

Though I may not agree with everything in the full article above (or the website from which it came), the insight offered there regarding the place of the study of numbers in Scripture within appropriate bounds is of value in helping to keep things in their proper perspective.

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Conclusions

The Body of Christ, by definition, should not be exclusionary within itself according to Scripture.  God does allow for differences in opinion on secondary disputable matters (Romans 14) and distinguishes between different parts of the Body that are necessary for the functioning of the Body (1 Corinthians 12-14).

However those that seek to be “set apart” within/from the Body of Christ based on “unique revelation” or “hidden truths” that have been “revealed to them” using questionable resources and/or methods should be met with extreme caution.  Resources and/or methods determined to be occultic in origin should be rejected outright.

Those of you who are curious about and are flirting with the Hebrew Roots Movement – be alert.  Not all is as it seems.  Ask the hard questions.  If you are steered anywhere other than toward the Exaltation of Jesus Christ and His completed work at the Cross, step away and take a serious, critical look at the HRM and how (and WHY) it differs from orthodox (small ‘o’) Christianity.  If you’re in the Hebrew Roots Movement (Messianic Christianity, Hebraic Roots, etc.) please consider taking a fresh look and prayerfully . . . and Scripturally . . . re-examine the things you’ve been taught by those in the HRM.

May God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Other articles of interest:

For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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26 Responses

  1. I think you have expressed the trade-off for HMRers quite well. The engine that drives HRM is that “the church is babylon”. “Coming out of her” [the church] is the perceived escape from pagantry, but in reality, the engine just switches tracks that exchanges what is considered pagan for another false system which leads further away from the truth and Jesus Christ.

    It appears that some in HRM are unaware of that much of their “Jewish” or Hebriac practice is ladeled out of a false man-made system that denies Jesus Christ. I fear that they don’t comprehend those practices [how they feel they are being obedient] are Talmudic and painted with a kabbalistic paint brush. Those that understand, like many of the teachers/Messianic Rabbis have compromised this information and classified “their kabbalah” as “good” versus a “bad kabbalah”… and have held up the Talmud as what Jesus taught from.

    The amount of teachings and practices that push a Talmudic [also known as the "oral law"/Torah] mindset is extensive and is the root of what is considered an “Hebraic mindset”. These concepts are errantly viewed as first century “Judaism”. There are two major issues with an oral Torah. The Bible gives no evidence of an oral Torah and the Talmud was not compiled until 200-500BCE. The Talmud was further interpreted and added to by Rabbinical sages in the middle ages.

    This is a very cool comprehensive article – thanks for all your research and compilation. Nice Job! :)

  2. sheep wrecked wrote:

    “The engine that drives HRM is that ‘the church is babylon’. ‘Coming out of her’ [the church] is the perceived escape from pagantry, but in reality, the engine just switches tracks that exchanges what is considered pagan for another false system which leads further away from the truth and Jesus Christ.”

    What a great way to describe it! Oh that those in the HRM would just put it ALL away and fall at the feet of Jesus!

    Thanks for your kind words about the post . . . I understand both more and less about the HRM mindset: I understand more about where their teaching comes from; I understand less how they can hold to it with integrity in view of their steering hard away from paganism.

    My prayer is that those in the HRM would be willing to take a hard, honest look at where their teaching comes from.

  3. I think the problem with steering away from a different form of paganism, although mostly unrecognized by those caught in HRM, is that they feel safe where they are. They have rejected the church which they have been convinced “did them wrong” and now they have found the truth through special revelation. If one has these experiential episodes it’s about impossible to pull the pacifier out of the baby’s mouth. In HRM, there is a constant confirmation from others, through the “spirit”, and from the teachers that one is truly being obedient to God in the fullest way.

    It really goes back to the base of all religious systems – one must do something to appease their particular deity. If one is on the correct “team”, there is a communal unity of achievement of meeting that goal. Lots of hype in HRM with tons of back slapping and cheering sections give the appearance of acceptance and love – perhaps something that most of them found missing in the church. They feel “persecuted” for their belief system – and are slammed by many of their families and associates that tell them they have gone back “under the law”. That brings HRMers to unity of mind and spirit with others in the same “boat” as they cheer each other on as family members and friends are left behind for the sake of Torah. It’s pretty sad to watch.

    It has also been my experience that when HRMers do realize that there are some major problems with their new found “faith”, that a change and a new direction is discomforting. They are afraid and confused. The church is not acceptable anymore and now they are without a place to fellowship. They are vulnerable and frustrated. Rather than give up HRM totally, some cling to parts of it so as not to ostracize themselves from other believers. If they do make the break completely, it means searching for like minded people and no resources to do so. Former Messianic HRMers are rare. Most people have grown up dependent on a body of believers and without it, they feel lost and abandoned.

    As someone who had been “down that road”, I found that my comfort and hope is in Jesus Christ and in His written Word. In His awesome grace, He has provided wonderful friends through the internet that I can fellowship and discuss His Word with. For me, being grounded in the Word and in faith, is the simplicity that is in Christ.

  4. I know a number of Christians who have been bewitched to go under the law by the HRM. Paul addressed this in Galatians chapter 3. They have lost their first love and have fled from their churches. I haven’t seen one restored yet. It breaks my heart to see them loose their first love and become critical and judgmental of other believers. It is such a blessing to me to read of one who is being restored and grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace.

  5. [...] Dwayna Litz comments on the Hebrew Roots Movement and links to another article by Wendy at Joyfully Growing in Grace Ministries. Her link is broken, but I think it’s supposed to go here. [...]

  6. Hi lovethetruth,

    Yup, the HRM is a growing movement, that’s for sure. It grieves my heart as well.

    I just wanted to clarify though that I have not been a part of the HRM, just been exposed to it on a couple of fronts and have investigated to find out what’s up. People I care about have been led astray by this movement, and I felt it important to know the ins and outs. And thought it important for others to know too, hence JGIG.

    I am now acquainted with a few folks who have come out of the HRM. It’s been a long road for them and the wounds are slow to heal. But God is faithful and I am encouraged by what I’ve seen in those folks hearts.

    Pray for those you know who have been bewitched, and love them well when the opportunities present themselves.

    Blessings!

  7. How do you understand the verses of Matt 7:19? It seems clear to me, “teach agenst the least of the law of Moses will be the lastr in the kingdom. thoes who teach the commands will be first in the kingdom.”

    • Hi livingfires,

      You wrote:

      How do you understand the verses of Matt 7:19? It seems clear to me, “teach agenst the least of the law of Moses will be the lastr in the kingdom. thoes who teach the commands will be first in the kingdom.”

      That verse, in context, reads:

      15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matt. 7:15-20)

      Anyone else find the humor in livingfire’s mis-reference landing them there??

      -JGIG

      • Perhaps you see humor or irony there, but livingfires’ question is still valid (once his “mis-reference” is corrected to Matt 5:19). How do YOU read the passage (5:18-19) that clearly says that until heaven and earth pass away (both are still here), those who break even the “least” of the Torah commandments and teach men to do the same will be considered “least” in the Kingdom of heaven?

        I might add my own question to this — in the above article at one point it is stated that keeping Torah is “impossible”. If that is the case, how was it possible for Zecharyah and his wife Elisheba to “blamelessly” keep “all” the Torah commandments of YHVH (Luke 1:6)?

        While it clearly IS possible to keep Torah blamelessly, no “HRM” aquaintance of mine has ever said that this is required for salvation. That’s what much of traditional Christianity has misunderstood about this “movement”. The keeping of Torah, as Yeshua did, has to do with our walk (halacha), not with how we are saved.

        Torah obedience was NEVER required by Elohim as a mode of salvation! Why can’t Christianity see this? Most Christians recognize that Yeshua kept Torah perfectly, but for some reason they don’t feel our walk should match his?!? (1 John 2:6, John 15:10, Luke 6:40, 1Cor 11:1, 1 Thes 1:6).

        Much of so-called Oral Torah, and Kabala are clearly wrong and occultic, but to throw out YHVH’s Torah and say it no longer applies to the believer is equally destructive to our walk. Do what you will, I prefer to continue in the footsteps of Messiah and to be known as one who “guards the Torah and possesses the witness of Messiah” (Rev 12:17 and 1:2, 1:9, 3:8, 6:9, and 20:4)!

        • * Either Jesus came to fulfill the Law like He said He did in Matthew 5:17 or He lied.

          * Zac and Liz were blameless according to the demands of the Law; those demands were not optional, if they did not keep them, they would die. Torah law always was about physical life/blessings; obedience to Torah law never brought anyone closer to knowing their God. The closest contact that Israel had with God after Torah was given was through the Hight Priests, one day a year.

          * The difference in Old Covenant relating to God and relating to God in the New Covenant is stunning. Setting the salvation through the Law issue aside, as it really is not an issue as you say, if one simply reads through the letter to the Hebrews, one can see how the New Covenant is superior to the Old in every way.

          * If one thinks that one can match Yeshua/Jesus’ walk, one has grand delusions that he/she is God. Not good. Jesus came to keep the Law for us so that He could take our sins upon Himself at the Cross to be the propitiation for our sins. He didn’t come to show us how to keep Torah law; He came to turn spiritually dead people into spiritually alive people!

          Choose to walk in the ‘ministry of death’ if you like; I choose the ‘ministry of righteousness’!

          2 Corinthians 3
          Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

          4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

          7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

          12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

  8. I really couldn’t read through all your stuff because it became confusing and sorry to say, somewhat boring.
    I am currently doing a research study amongst people in South Africa who are on the Hebrew Roots road, and my one conclusion is that the majority by far have not been influenced by anybody. This is a thing born of the Spirit of the Creator, it is not of man.
    I suggest you stop criticizing and trying so hard to point out the evil in this movement, if you have so much energy then rather spend it constructively and address your fellow Christians on any insightful topic. You, as I, and everybody else, have to work out our own salvation. Besides, the mercy of YHWH on us all is far beyond our understanding. Get your tongue in order, and rather work on your own salvation and getting closer to Him.

    • Hi Lee,

      Beyond your opinion that “my stuff” is boring and an exhortation to “get my tongue in order” and “work on my own salvation”, did you have anything in particular to offer in relation to the post on which you chose to comment?

      -JGIG

      • Nearly two years later, sorry dude, still find it very boring and sadly, very naive. You lack an enormous amount of knowledge and insight. Maybe in the two years you have aquired some…..

        • Lee –

          I looked back at your original comment and then thought back through the two and a half years that I’ve been writing this blog and learning about the ‘Hebrew Roots road’. I agree – ‘this thing’, as you put it, is born of a spirit, but it is not the Spirit of God at work. The Spirit of God will not go against His Word, and He wouldn’t use the methods common in the HRM to arrive at HRM doctrine. Sorry, dude. Still not buyin’.

          Every blessing,
          -JGIG

  9. Dear Sheep wrecked

    I have a friend whose husband leads up a Torah Group in KZN South Africa. She has remained in the Church refusing to follow the same path. She is so unhappy as her husband accuses her of being unsubmissive and rebellious. When I read the story of Sheep wrecked I can related to everything that this person said as it is exactly the same path that this friend of ours has chosen to go and yet his wife who is very dear and close to me seems to be constantly persecuted for remaining solid in her Christian beliefs. She has asked me over and over again whether God is unhappy with her because she refuses to submit to him in this path and she refuses to allow him to teach the children. They served the Lord for 15 years before he chose to walk the HRM path and he has his mother and his step father in the HRM and as a family they keep condemning my friend. Please would you comment on this.

    • Hi Nerene,
      I’ll be praying for your friend and her situation. I’ve heard similar stories from several others. It grieves my heart.

      That’s why I started JGIG . . . to give folks a resource that can help them keep an even keel as they come in contact with HRM teachings. Too many moms on the mom’s forum I’m on have been led astray. And the HRM can be persuasive and confusing . . . they attack core areas of the Christian faith and re-mold them with the HRM twist.

      I forwarded your comment to sheepwrecked for response.

      Please let your friend know that my prayers are with her and her family. She is in an extremely uncomfortable circumstance . . . my prayer is that she find His comfort in the midst.

      Every Blessing,
      JGIG

  10. Indeed, double mindedness is prevalent throughoutt the entire body, not only in HRM. Oh that we would all leave every form of paganism behind regardless of it’s origin! I do have a question on gematra…isn’t it used in Rev 13 which describes the “number” of the beasts name? Christians routinely use gematra to discern potential candidates due to this.

  11. Hi Shaliach,

    You wrote, “Christians routinely use gematra to discern potential candidates due to this.”

    Well, THIS Christian does not use gematria! And I think you may be over reaching by saying that Christians in general use gematria. Numbers do, however, hold significance in the Word of God, and if you re-read near the end of the post, I do address the issue.

    Blessings,
    JGIG

  12. Brethren,

    While I admire your zeal to defend the faith. I question the method. Brother you quoted our Lord concerning “knowing them by their fruits”. But is it not the behavior of ravening wolves to attack mercilously an undefended animal. Do we attack anothers beliefs without showing the slightest amount of compassion or mercy? This is not what the Lord taught. We are taught to examine everything against scripture to see whether it is false or not. To learn from what is true and to dismiss what is not. Before speaking on a subject to give an opinion, we should be well versed on the subject we are giving an opinion on. For one thing Gematria is not really numerology. Unlike us Jews do not have a seperate symbology for numbers. Instead each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value that when used in combination are used to write all other numerical values. So, it is an error to refer to Gematria as numerology, which is a pagan form of mysticism. Is the Hebrew numbering system used in Kabbalah. Yes. But the english language is also used to write things that are not Christian.

    Hebrew Roots Movement as you call it, which in the way I’ve heard it stated here which smacks of intolerance and hate, and not of compassion and love this not fruit of the Spirit. This does speak of gentleness, kindness, patience, and longsufferring.

    Our faith not simply called Christian, but Judeo-Christian. Our Savior was born to Jewish parents, in a Jewish town, in a Jewish country. All 12 of the Disciples were Jewish. Paul, who wrote most of the epistles was Jewish. All of them attended Synagogues, heard the word taught to them from boyhood into manhood from Rabbi’s reciting to them Old Testament scripture, which was the only scripture existent at the time, as the New Testament was not yet written. They were raised in a world dominated by Jewish thought. The term Christian came into use in Antioch. Before that time we were simply called the “The Way” and were considered by the Rabbinacal authority as nothing more than a Heretical Jewish sect. Our Lord came to open their eyes to the fact that they had strayed from what they were taught.

    Jesus, himself, said:

    Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
    Mat 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
    Mat 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    This does not mean that we are required to adhere to the 613 Laws that the Jews were required to observe because we are under the Law grace. But neither are we free this dismiss what the scriptures teach us.

    Our Lord has not yet returned and heaven and earth have certainly not passed away, but we are still responsible for discerning the word of truth. We as Christians know that God speaks to us, through people and means, other than the word and it is our responsibility to take that information and make sure it lines up with the word of God.

    Our bibles quote Old testament scriptures. Our Savior, as well as, the disciples quoted passages of Old Testament scripture. There are many concepts in scripture, which are impossible to understand unless you understand the people who wrote the scriptures and who they were written to. There are levels of scriptual understanding that are lost on us because we do not view the scriptures from the reference point of the writers. I pray that you do not close your minds to truth simply because you have an ingrained mistrust of the source.

    1Th 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
    1Th 5:20 Do not despise prophecies.
    1Th 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    • Hi Charles,

      Welcome to JGIG.

      You sent some mixed messages with your post, most of which I’ll chalk up to you being unfamiliar with the Hebrew Roots Movement (which is a name that I did not come up with, it is an established term, along with Torah Observant, Torah Pursuant, Messianic Judaism, The Netzarim, Jewish Roots, etc.).

      You wrote, “While I admire your zeal to defend the faith. I question the method. Brother you quoted our Lord concerning “knowing them by their fruits”. But is it not the behavior of ravening wolves to attack mercilously an undefended animal. Do we attack anothers beliefs without showing the slightest amount of compassion or mercy? This is not what the Lord taught. We are taught to examine everything against scripture to see whether it is false or not.”

      I take it that you are referring to me as the ‘ravening wolf’ and those poor HRMers as ‘undefended animals’? You may want to read through some more comments here at JGIG before you go making assertions as to who is the wolf and who is the ‘undefended animal’, Charles =o). We are called to examine everything against the Scriptures, and that’s what is done here at JGIG. Spend some more time here and you will see that it is so.

      As for Gematria simply being the way to count in the Hebrew language . . . um, no, that is not the case. Re-read the post and go to the links that show what Gematria is. Yes, Hebrew letters also have a numeric value, but it’s what those who practice Gemetria do with those numeric values that puts it into the realm of Jewish Mysticism and prohibited practices as defined by Scripture.

      As for the content of the post on which you’ve commented, I’ve demonstrated that the methods used by some in the HRM for the interpretation of the Scriptures come from those who have rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. That, in my opinion, makes their conclusions about anything in the Word suspect, as what they teach does not culminate in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His completed work of Redemption, but rather steers folks AWAY from the Gospel.

      I hope you spend some more time here at JGIG. I would recommend that you read through the links on the page, “How I Became Aware of the Hebrew Roots Movement” to get a feel for my heart on the teachings found in the HRM.

      Blessings,
      -JGIG

  13. My husband and me had been deeply involved in a Messianic Congregation for almost 6 year. Praise the LORD, 4 months ago the LORD took us out from there and led us back to our old church.

    • Yay God!

      Thank you so much for sharing that . . . and let me know if you guys ever want to share your story.

      Grace and peace,
      -JGIG

  14. I hardly know where to begin with the story I want to share with you about my mix-up with someone who has very close ties to this movement. He claims he is not affiliated with it but the similarities are so close, it’s almost impossible to differentiate between his convictions and that of HRM and the Sacred Name Movement.

    It started two years ago when I first met him at the college I was attending and it is still going on because the man is presently my husband. At the time I met my future husband, I had just recently lost my job of 5 years, my apartment, my car and my best friend of 8 years all at the same time and had no choice but to move back in with my parents for a while to reorganize my life. You can imagine how vulnerable I was. On top of that, I was angry and depressed and I began to take it out on everyone. The secular community might compare it to a nervous breakdown but I know now that God was using it to bring me to Him. I had been raised in a Baptist church but was rebellious towards God’s ways (as all unregenerate sinners are). I wanted to practice unrighteousness but give the appearance of being a “good” person. It was all an act and I tired of it quickly. Well, fast forward to two years ago, and I was angry at everybody but didn’t think anybody (including God) would help me. I had “tried” to ask Jesus in my heart literally hundreds of times (as the churches I went to emphasized I should do) but I had no clue what true repentance was.

    The first few months of my marriage, my husband led me down a road that seemed special and exciting. He started by saying that in Hebrews 4:8 he was “led by the Spirit” to discover that the scriptures taught Joshua was the true name of the Messiah and not Jesus. He told me that the truth of the Word of God is “hidden” and mainstream Christianity is of pagan origin. He told me that the name “Jesus” was actually a form of the name “Hey-Zeus” or “Isis”, which are both pagan gods. He claimed it was a conspiracy on part of the Greeks when they translated the New Testament to cover-up the true name of the Messiah. He, in turn, always referred to Jesus as “Yahshua Hameshiach” and said that unless a person called upon this name, they would not receive the “spirit of revelation” because the Book of Revelation says that “Yahshua” is the spirit of revelation.

    I was skeptical and very cautious about all this and began a journey into one of the most terrifying and incredible times of my life. Right away I began having nightmares and very vivid dreams that I’ve never had before I met him. In his opinion, this was good because he claimed he was an intrepreter of dreams. Thus begins the “exciting” inner-experience that this movement puts such emphasis on. I will not go into details about all the dreams, but they were many and they were terrifying. All the while, however, the true God of the Bible was using this experience to bring me to true repentance in Jesus Christ.

    While with my husband, I was constantly afraid, I couldn’t think clearly and anger/depression RULED over me. But I did cry out to God and He finally took me by the hand and made me see my sin through His eyes. I was broken in every way and literally cried until I was exhausted. I knew that the terrifying circumstances of my marriage and what my husband was involved in, led me to truly lean on Jesus with my whole heart. For that, I would not sacrifice even a moment of my marriage because of the salvation I found in the midst of that “darkness”. My husband, to this day, wants to take credit for my salvation (to this very day he says he is the one who taught me what salvation was). But I know, in my heart, that God used the circumstances to lead me of His own accord to salvation. From beginning to end, the LORD our God is the author and finisher of our faith. It is all of Him and no other, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

    One last thing I want to add, after I was married I found out about the background of this guy whom I called my husband. He was previously married to a woman he had 4 girls with and was convicted of child abuse towards his second youngest daughter. He and this wife were also involved in her family’s church, which they both admit to this day was a cult. Then he got involved with another woman and had a son with her. This woman endured beatings from him for years until he was finally thrown in jail for domestic abuse. To add to all of this, sometime in there he ended up spending some time in a psychiatric hospital (though he never told me why). I found all this out AFTER we were married. I knew God hated divorce and that is exactly what my husband used to scare me into staying. He even went so far as to say that if I left, I would be out of divine grace and implied that I needed him to “finish” my sanctification because I would never find another true believer like he supposedly was. In fact, he is still trying to convince me of this, as I speak, through phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts.

    Thank God for my family and friends (who, by the way, he tried convincing me throughout our marriage that they were evil heretics and apostates bent on preventing the kingdom of God from manifesting in me because they wouldn’t accept his teachings, which he said he got from direct revelation from Yahweh that only the few elect would ever receive—though , by his own claims, he apparently is the only one he knows of that has access to these special revelations because God told him He was going to make him a scribe. Mind you, he had tried to convince me that he was one of the two witnesses in the book of Revelation and when I wouldn’t believe that he tried to tell me he was “that Prophet” talked about in the first chapter of the gospel of John).

    Now, obviously this is an extreme case and probably not the norm of those involved in the HRM movement but what I witnessed was a very sick man involved in demonic doctrines and THAT was what he was trying to lead me into. If such a man as this endorses such teachings, you can bet they are (at best) mislead and at worst a perfect recipe for the next upcoming cult, which I know this man would be honored to be it’s leader. I hope you don’t get the impression that I didn’t try to correct and restore him gently because I did and still try to. I would ask that you please pray for him, that he would see the error of these ways and come to a knowledge of the truth and that God would give him a sound mind. His name is Joseph and mine is Deborah. Please pray for us both. I hope others will see through my testimony, the danger of false doctrines and that it is NOTHING to toy with. It is very serious error.

    May the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob richly bless you through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
    Deborah

    • Wow, Deborah . . . even through it all God has been so faithful with the simplicity of the Gospel in your life. You are not alone; several women (and a few men) have written here about similar experiences (minus the unique revelation claimed by their husbands/wives, though a few of those types write directly here!), including nightmares and even some who have felt like demonic spirits had entered their homes.

      My prayers go with you, that God would continue to grow you in the grace and simplicity of the Gospel; and that you would sense and stand upon the Life of Christ in you daily.

      Just to let you know – there is a facebook page for JGIG and there are several folks there who post who have family/friends in the HRM and related sects. You may find some encouragement and support there if you haven’t found it already =o).

      Grace and peace to you,
      -JGIG

    • Wow I could have written parts of this post myself. I too married a man who introduced me to the Hebrew Roots Movement. He taught me ‘PARDES’, compares my family’s “influence” to the jezebel spirit, is an interpretor of my dreams, feels he is called to be a teacher/prophet, wants us only to use ‘Yeshua’ in our home and in talking to our children, he gets many ‘revelations’ from the Word, etc. I will admit, hes not as extreme as your hubby (ex-husband?), but its enough to frighten me into doing my own study of the Scriptures and the warning signs are enough to make me take a step back and re-examine my faith because my faith has been shaken to the core.

  15. In response to Follower’s remarks above, it should be said that
    a) Matthew 5:17′s “to fulfill” means to complete and/or fill up, but Matthew 5:18′s “fulfilled” is an entirely different word in the Greek or Aramaic versions, which means “come into being.” This is why in the sermon on Pentecost, Peter could quote the prophet Jude, and claim the “end-times” prophecy referred to that glorious day. Not that every thing in that prophecy had been completed or fulfilled, but that everything in that prophecy had come into being, or had been born into the world.
    b) it is often said by HRMers that we should walk as Christ walked. Yet how did He walk? According to the flesh, He was the son of David, and was obliged to obey the Law. Yet according to the spirit, He is the Son of God, and obeys the voice of the Father. Are we, who are not Jews according to the flesh, to follow Yeshua according the flesh, or according to the spirit? We who believe in who He is, and what He did are not citizens of Jerusalem below, but of Jerusalem above, not of the kingdom of Israel but of the Kingdom of God.

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