• 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 Forrest 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.

  • Today’s Top Ten

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • JGIG on Facebook:

  • Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.
  • Recommended Reading

  • Broken Links – UGH

    Do you find it frustrating when you're directed to a link that does not exist? Me too! My apologies for any broken links you may find here.

    JGIG occasionally links to to sites that sometimes move or remove content, forums that periodically cull threads, sites/posters that appear to 'scrub' content from their sites (or YouTube posts, pdf files, etc.) when that content receives negative attention, and others that over time simply cease to exist.

    Please let me know via the 'Contact JGIG' drop-down menu item under the 'About' tab at the top of this page if you come across a link that is broken so that I can try to repair or remove it. Please include the name of the post/article where you found the broken link as well as the link itself. You may be able to find content specified by doing a search and viewing a relocated or cached page/post/video.

    Thanks,
    - JGIG

  • Total Hits

    • 455,258
  • Map

About Law Keepers – An Overview

Edited to add, 18Oct 2011:  This Overview was written relatively early in my experience with the beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic/Netzarim movements.  I have added links at the end of this post that will help give you a more well-rounded view of the different facets in the Law ‘keeping’ community.  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 HR/M/N 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.

Every Blessing,
-JGIG
_________________

Following is an overview of the Hebrew Roots Movement from a New Covenant perspective.  The Hebrew Roots Movement is the present-day version of “Law Keepers” that Paul corrected in several letters to Christians in the fledgling Church under his apostolic care.

Background 

If you’ve read parts 1-5 of the “Law Keepers” posts, (see the Series Page to link to those posts) you have a good idea about some of the basic concerns that came to my mind regarding the concept of mandatory Torah observance for Christians.

In those posts, I give account of my experience with an online Christian mom’s forum (which has been a tremendous blessing in many ways) that I frequent where there has been a definite, discernible trend toward “Law Keeping”, i.e. believers that are Torah observant.  Their belief system encompasses observance of the Sabbath, keeping the biblically mandated feasts, and also keeping all of the dietary laws and even adhering to parts of the Law regarding things like when a woman is considered a “Nidah” .

Discussion on that forum about the Law bubbles up occasionally and over the years has been a progression of “Law vs. Grace” to debates about “what is legalism” to more recently, the subtleties of “keeping God’s commandments because we love Him and want to please Him” and “this is how Jesus lived and worshipped” or “this is how the first century Church actually did things” to those promoting the “keeping of the Instructions”.  All of that was eventually revealed to mean that some Christians feel commanded to be, and are striving to be, Torah compliant.

Posts on the mom’s forum from those who are Torah observant have always seemed a little “off” to me, doctrinally, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me.  After all, how can you look at “if you really want to please God” and “if you really love God” and “this is how Jesus worshipped and we’re just doing what Jesus did” and “we are just following the commands of Jesus” as being a bad thing . . .

Still, I saw that what Christ did at the Cross was being minimized.  It was like they came to the Cross, got “saved”, and then turned around and went back to the Law.  For me, I went to the Cross, made Jesus Lord of my life and became a follower of Christ.  Instead of turning backwards, I followed Christ beyond the Cross, as a part of the Body of Christ!

There wasn’t really a “light bulb” moment for me when I realized that there was indeed false doctrine being posted at the mom’s forum.  It took nearly three years for me to be able to pinpoint some specific things that led me to find the “sources” of the doctrine I had seen posted.  However, some key elements did come together for me when one mom in particular, whose family keeps the Law, responded to my “The Law – What About the Blood?!” post.  At that point I had something I could identify doctrinally, and could investigate further.

Being a Grace oriented Christian, I come from the perspective of the completed work of Christ at the Cross.  We, as believers, Jews and Gentiles alike, ARE NOT under the Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant.

It is distinctly clear to me from scripture that Jesus did not shed His Blood and give us new life to endorse a mere continuation of Judaism.  He came to make the spiritually dead spiritually alive.  He came, died, and rose from the dead to restore relationship with God to all tribes and tongues and nations, establishing the Church (Body of Christ), the Body of which all who truly believe the Gospel belong.

One more thing, and this is really important:  My purpose with writing this overview is not to put down those who have chosen to keep Torah.  Most who have chosen to do so have sincere hearts and truly do want to please God because they love Him.  They have received false teaching that is very persuasive and deceptive – even seductive, because it is labeled as “hidden”, “forgotten”, or “previously mis-translated” truth.  They have been subjected to a progressive chipping away at the accuracy of the canon of scripture and told that much of what they believe in Christianity has pagan roots.  “Rabbis” in this Torah for Christians movement systematically purpose to establish that Christianity today has its roots in the Catholic church, not the early Church, the Body of Christ.  They are told that the “church fathers” (aka the Catholic church) have lied to the Body of Christ for centuries and that now, finally, the truth of the roots of our faith are available to them!

From what I’ve observed thus far, there are the “mainstream” Law Keepers, (keep the Sabbath and observe the Feasts) the “legalists”, (they are very serious about keeping as much of Torah as they possibly can, even going to Jerusalem at the appointed times) and the “fringe” Law Keepers (who are also very serious about keeping Torah, promoting a “Yahshua Messiah as Torah incarnate” concept, possibly engaging in more primitive practices such as the slaughtering of a goat for the Passover meal and using its blood for the painting of their doorposts and/or practicing polygamy).

As with any false belief system, the first objective is to cast doubt on what really is truth, then replace that truth with the “truth” of the new belief system.  Many precious souls have been led astray, while others have been willingly deceived by what their itching ears want to hear.

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  aside to myths.  (2Timothy 4:3-4) 

Objective

My intent is not to pile a bunch of information on you, rather this is an overview to hit some of the high points, some “red flag” raisers, that I’ve learned about where Christians who are Torah observant  are coming from.  In the past several months, I’ve done some in-depth research about the doctrine I’ve seen posted on that mom’s forum as well as additional doctrine I’ve come across online.

The movement that teaches Law keeping to Christians is very seductive, persuasive, and wrong.  Much of what they say seems to make sense, but if you pay careful attention, when you look for the Gospel in what they teach, it isn’t there.  It’s always “Jesus plus something“, the Gospel is never permitted to stand on its own.  And there are some corners of this movement where I’ve poked around and couldn’t find any hint of the Gospel at all!

Due to the seductive and persuasive nature of Law keeping doctrine, if you haven’t already, please read “A Little Perspective Regarding Future ‘Law Keepers’ Posts”.

The following information is just for you to tuck under your hat in the event that you cross paths with a “Law Keeper” or come across websites proselytizing Torah observance for Christians.  It’s been my experience that Law keepers will throw lots of information at you, so it’s good to have a few things in mind as they volley stuff your way . . .

The Overview

1) Law Keepers minimize what Jesus did at the Cross.  Many (not all) Law Keepers believe that Jesus died for past sins, not that there is grace for all sin.  That’s one reason it’s so important for them to follow “the instructions” about how to live.  They fall into the trap of the externals, when Jesus constantly pointed to and stressed the internals.

The Law in effect becomes an idol to them.

Law Keepers rely on the Law for sanctification, having it take the place of the Holy Spirit, Who enables believers to become more and more a reflection of Jesus, being part of the living Body of Christ.  Law Keepers see the Holy Spirit as the One Who enables the believer to keep Torah, not as the One Who progressively changes (sanctifies) the believer from the inside out (1 Corinthians 1:21 Corinthians 6:111 Thessalonians 5:19-24, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17Hebrews 10:291 Peter 1:2).

Law Keepers consistently say, “This is how Y’shua worshipped!”, yet they dismiss the radical change in worship and practice in the New Testament Church (Body of Christ) after Jesus accomplished what He came to do!  They do not recognize the Cross as being a definite dividing line in history, delineating the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  

It is also important to note that Law Keepers rarely refer to the Epistles, unless they’re trying to discredit them or trying to convince you that they say something that they just don’t, in context, and in view of the Cross, say.  Isn’t it interesting that the Epistles are where guidance, instruction, and correction of the fledgling Church occur, as well as the establishing of sound doctrine and warnings against false doctrine?  Others in the Law keeping community feel it necessary to throw Paul (the writer of the bulk of the Epistles) under the bus altogether, saying that it was he who established “christianity” (small “c”), not Jesus.

2) A subtle, though sometimes outright denial of the Trinity.  There are great ponderings among Law Keepers about how paganism has permeated Christianity throughout history.  Some of it is true – some pagan customs have influenced Christian traditions.  That topic will be addressed in a future post.  In the realm of the existence/non-existence of the Trinity, however, Law Keepers take it a bit far.

Pagan sun worship apparently has its gods in sets of three, and Law Keepers extrapolate from there that the Catholic church applied that pagan concept of God to their doctrine and came up with the Trinity.  From the Law Keeper’s view, over the centuries “church tradition” has perpetuated the concept of the Trinity.  But thanks to the “new information” uncovered by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, we can now be aware of our error.  How this very serious error has escaped the Church (Body of Christ) for nearly 2000 years is truly amazing!

Actually, Scripture, not the Catholic church, clearly confirms the concept of a Triune God.  For example, the doctrine of a Triune God – one God in Three Persons, is a clear concept in the Word.  (Matthew 3:15-17 Triune God present at the baptism of Jesus;  Acts 2:32-33 all 3 persons of God simultaneously present, then the Holy Spirit poured out on the believers at Pentecost; Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 3:22 not explicitly triune references, as in the NT, but clearly plural descriptions of the one true God, to give a few examples.)

And if you are willing to throw out the concept of the Trinity, Who loses their deity?  God the Father?  Jesus the Son?  The Holy Spirit?  Let’s think about that for a minute:

-If it is Christ who loses His Deity, then the work of the Cross cannot be, as the blood shed there had to be sinless, and if Jesus was not God, then He could not be without sin, and the cross counts for nothing.  It would also mean that if Jesus was not without sin, He could not “do” the Law, making His claim to be God, His example to us,  AND  His commandments to us a big fat lie.

-If it is the Holy Spirit who loses His Deity, then the believer cannot obey the whole Law, as it is the Holy Spirit Who enables the believer to carry out the edicts of the Law (according to HRM doctrine).

-If it is God Who loses His Deity, then everything for everybody falls apart and nothing matters anyway!

This presents quite a dilemma for those adhering to any “Law for Christians” doctrine who also deny the Trinity.  In a discussion with a Torah observant Christian, I asked if it had ever occurred to them that “if, in Babylonian sun worship, gods always come in sets of three, that it may mean that the sun worshippers were counterfeiting the three Persons of God and not that the Church was copying the pagans?  That’s what the Enemy does – he takes that which IS and perverts it!”

From the link above, regarding pagan god “trinities” at “Let Us Reason”:

“Where did the pagans get a concept of three ? Why not two or four ? Where did they get the idea of a God in heaven anyway? What about their belief in a virgin and a son, where did that originate from ? Rom.1:20-25 tells us that man from the beginning knew God.”… ‘and their foolish hearts were darkened” vs.25 “they exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.” When mankind fell into darkness of sin, they still retained some elements of the truth but distorted its meaning and it became lost.”  (Emphasis mine.)

3) Some Law Keepers deny the deity of Jesus.  Some are quite forthcoming with that belief.  While others say  they believe in the deity of Christ (Yahshua), when you read through their teachings, you find that their writings do not support that belief.  There are still others in the Law keeping movement who do believe that Jesus is God, yet when you take their doctrine to its eventual end, they remove the power of God from the Messiah.  In their belief system what Jesus did is not enough – it is not complete.  They in effect remove the Godly characteristic of omnipotence from Messiah, since their belief system is a “Jesus + Law” equation.

4) Mandatory use of the “Sacred Names”.  This is almost universal among Law Keepers.  Though many Law Keepers would not consider themselves aligned with any movement, there is a Sacred Name Movement that’s been around since the dawn of the 20th century to which they are adhering in practice.  The basic idea is that there is one true name for God, and He requires that we use it, or we are in violation of the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.”

Just a very few of the variations I’ve seen of the “Sacred Names” are YHWH, YHVH, YaHWeH, Yahweh, Jehovah, Yahuweh, Yahuah, Yah (understood to be sort of an affectionate shortening of the other Yah-whatevers) and G-d . . . those are for God.  For Jesus, a few variations I’ve seen are Yeshua, Y’shua, Yahshua, Yahushua, Yahoshua . . . so if getting the names right is so important, which ones are they?!  I’ll be exploring this concept further in a future post, along with providing links explaining the movement in detail.  (Also see below about the issue of language in Acts 2.)

5) This one is a biggie:  In both the Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name movements, there is a tremendous emphasis on the understanding of the scriptures through the lens of Hebrew thought and of the Hebrew language.  Most adherents believe that the entire Bible was originally written in Hebrew, and that the New Testament was translated into Greek from its original Hebrew.  As a result, in the HRM view, ALL New Testament writings were contaminated and corrupted with Hellenistic thought.  And since, according to Law Keepers, our accepted canon of scripture (compiled by “corrupt church fathers”) and eventual English translations came from a contaminated and corrupted source, they can’t possibly be accurate!  While some Law Keepers continue to use their current Bibles, they do so with suspicion, often relying on outside commentary or perspective from the HRM for clarification of their “flawed” texts.

Due to their suspicion of our current Bible, some in the HRM have worked to provide us with new “translations”, such as the “Restoration Scriptures”,  “The Hebraic Roots Version”, the “Complete Jewish Bible”, and the “Ancient Roots Translinear Bible”. 

Once the canon of Scripture is put under a shadow of doubt and “new” scriptures are introduced, the door opens wide for great doctrinal deception by leadership and within the laity of the Hebrew Roots Movement.  It’s interesting that in this area there is a similarity of the Hebrew Roots Movement with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness methodology regarding the scriptures, as both cults also have their own “versions” of the Bible, “correcting” the errors in the accepted canon.

It should be noted and understood that the “new” versions of Scripture being peddled by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement are typically works written by individuals.  Reliable translations of the canon have been the work of groups of linguistic scholars, providing built-in oversight and accountability within those groups of linguists.  However, if one does internet searches on the authors’ names of these “new” versions, their scholarship and methodology come into serious question.

Regarding the issue of the importance of understanding Scripture through the lens of Hebrew thought and the Hebrew language:  I have been re-reading the book of Acts because of Law Keepers referring to it a lot in respect to “how the early Church worshipped”.  Looking through the lens of the Sacred Name and Hebrew Roots streams of thought, Acts 2 really jumped out at me!  I must repeat – those streams of thought say that to truly understand the scripture, one has to come to an understanding of Hebrew language and of Hebrew thought.

It would be reasonable to conclude that if it were God’s intent that His Word was to be correctly communicated to the world in Hebrew, that the gathering at Pentecost would have been an ideal time and place to make that clear.  Instead, God made provision, by His Holy Spirit,  for every person, from every nation, to hear the Gospel in their own tongue.  Interesting on even a deeper level, because Acts 2 says that “God fearing Jews from every nation under heaven had come to Jerusalem”.  If there was ever a crowd gathered that probably knew Hebrew, it was this bunch!  When the New Testament says “God fearing Jews” it means the ultra-faithful to Judaism, and they would KNOW their Hebrew.  Yet God made sure that the Gospel was available IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGES!

I reach the conclusion that God is not concerned with the language in which the Gospel is communicated, but rather that the Gospel IS communicated!  As for the “Sacred Name”, for me, God is God.  Jesus is Jesus.  He knows Who I’m talking to/about.  Those are words in our language that represent the essence of Who He is.  And based on what God did in Acts 2, I’m pretty sure He’s ok with that.

6) Watch for a doctrine that teaches that if you don’t observe the Sabbath, you are taking on the Mark of the Beast.  No, seriously.  I know of at least one “Law Keeper” who has written this doctrine to someone who indicated an interest in learning more about observing Old Testament Feasts and about the concept of being Torah observant.  This comes from early Seventh Day Adventist doctrine, and has influenced other Law keeping sects, as well.  As you’ll see in future posts, there are streams of thought from many different sources in the HRM, including the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of God (of which there are numerous strains), The Way InternationalThe World Wide Church of God (Armstrongism), British IsraelismJudaismJewish sages and their writings, and Kabbalah.

7) Watch for language about information that has been hidden, the rest of the gospel, or that which has been erased.  It’s the perfect set up for the same thing that cults do:  convince you that what you know cannot possibly be true, or is incomplete, then come in with “fresh revelation” based on previously “hidden” information.  The Hebrew Roots Movement is absolutely saturated with the revealing of so-called “hidden” or “forgotten” or “erased” “truths”.

8)  Some Law Keepers consider themselves to be actual  Israel, part of the “Lost Ten Tribes”, which they also refer to as the “Diaspora”, and label themselves “Ephraim”.  The Diaspora, or dispersing of Israel, is a real thing, but some who keep the Law have taken a real thing and added to or blatently twisted it.  Many Law Keepers believe one of two things: Either they believe that they are IN REALITY part of the Lost Tribes of Israel (Ephraim) and the Holy Spirit is “calling” them back to their “roots”, or they believe that since they are “grafted into Israel”, they actually become Israel.  Some (self-proclaimed Ephraimites) have actually petitioned the Israeli government for citizenship (Aliyah).  Not being able to provide appropriate documentation of their “roots”, their applications are summarily denied.

A fundamental misunderstanding of what Christ did at the Cross and of the New Covenant leads to much error!  Gentiles don’t become Jews when they become followers of Christ.  Likewise, Jews, when they choose to become followers of Christ, don’t become Gentiles!  We, in Christ, become one new man!  (See Ephesians 2 HERE.)  And our “roots” aren’t Hebrew, our Root goes back much further than that!  Check this out . . .

“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 22:13-16)

9) The Homeschooling Connection  There is a prominent homeschool resource company called Heart of Wisdom Publishing.  This is an organization that actively promotes Law keeping from its basic educational philosophy to the materials that it offers.  One resource, in particular, is a “textbook” called “A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays”.   One mom told me that in the homeschool support group she belongs to, her family is the only family not keeping Torah.  The common denominator of those families who are keeping Torah?  A study of “A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays”.  The families that completed the study felt commanded  to keep Torah by the time they were done. 

To be clear, the HOW curriculum is subtle in it’s Law stance.  HOW presents their book on Biblical Holidays as a “textbook” for learning about the OT holidays, with projects, crafts, recipes, games, and songs for celebrating each holiday(sounds like fun, doesn’t it?).  But if families start keeping Torah because they feel commanded to after completing the study . . . well there you have it.  It’s at that point where it goes from being curriculum to being dogma. 

There are some other providers of homeschooling curriculum out there that promote Law keeping, but Heart of Wisdom Publishing seems to be the biggest.  Heart of Wisdom also has a website titled “Biblical Holidays”, a Hebrew Roots Movement site through and through.

Homeschooling families are independently-minded and open to “out of the box” and “counter-culture” thinking.  THAT IS NOT A BAD THING.  Without discernment, however, homeschooling families can fall prey to false doctrine in clever packaging.

 

10) Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name Movement “Buy” Products  Let’s take a dip in the pool of cynicism for a moment, shall we?  While the great majority of those in the HRM and SNM do what they do with honorable intentions, there are those in the “leadership” who have countless wares, books, and videos available for purchase. 

For instance, to truly understand the Word of God, you’re going to need a new Hebrew Roots version of the Bible, right?  Perhaps also some commentaries from a Hebrew Roots perspective?

To abide by the commandment in Exodus 20:7, you’re going to need to dump all your old music that contains the names of “Jesus”, “God”, or “Lord” . . . tapes, CDs, sheet music, hymnals . . . it’s all got to go!  Don’t worry, though, your buddies online with the HRMwill fix you up with new music, with the right names, and the right doctrine!

Of course, you’re also going to need to correct your view of history – of the Church in particular.  You’re also going to need to brush up on all that is pagan, since so much in Christendom has been contaminated and corrupted by pagan practices and symbolism.  You’ll be sure to have your own copies of “Fossilized Customs” by Lew White, “The Two Babylons” by A. Hislop, and “Too Long in the Sun” by Richard Rives, to mention just three.  Heck, buy a case of each, so you can pass them out to your friends!

Then there’s all that new doctrine you have to learn . . . sorting out all the Two house, One Stick, House of Ephraim, House of Joseph, Wife of God, Bride of Christ, etc. etc. etc. theology . . . gotta have resources for learning all of that, right?  And don’t forget about the Law, itself!  How to keep it, the dietary restrictions and stuff like that . . . there must be a few books out there about how to actually keep  the Law!

Don’t forget your tzit tzit fringes, (can get expensive at $10-20 a pop if you have a big family – are you allowed to make your own?) prayer shawls, a shofar, head coverings . . . there’s lots of stuff to buy to get you and your household into Torah compliance!

Conclusion

Can you almost hear Paul, perhaps with his hands on either side of his head, while shaking it slightly, saying to the Galatians . . .

“You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?  Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing?  Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”  (Galatians 3:1-5)

I know this has been long, and if you’ve stuck with me this far, you either know me =o), have a family member(s) involved with the Hebrew Roots Movement, are interested in the HRM, or have come across the HRM in some form and have been unsure what to make of it.  My prayer is that this information will provide  insight for prayer to those with family members in the HRM, discernment for those interested in the HRM, and tangible “jumping off” points for further research by those who have come across the HRM, think it’s a little “off” and feel like they should know more.  

May God guard your hearts and minds and grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider these things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a complete listing of posts at JGIG regarding the Hebrew Roots Movement, click HERE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other articles of interest:

A clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

27 Responses

  1. This is a really well written post! it is long but well thought out. I only have two issues i cannot get past. First, there is no historical evidence that Jesus, Or Paul for that matter, ever existed except the writings themselves that were written MANY years after the witnesses died. (even matthew quotes leviticus that there has to be 2 or 3 witnesses to establish any matter) Second, the man Jesus did not fulfill any of the Messianic prophesies of historic Judaism:
    The successful candidate will have attributes that must include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
    1. Be the seed (a direct descendant) of King David, through King Solomon(2 Sam 7:12-16)
    2. Be a spiritual and military/political leader(Is 2:3, 11:2; Dan 7:14;Numbers 24:17-19)
    3. Be married and have children during his term (e.g., Ezek 46:16-17)

    The successful candidate will be expected to bring about certain conditions as part of his sovereignty, though some will commence prior to his being identified as the Messiah. These must include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

    1. Arrival of Elijah the Prophet (Mal 3:23-24(4:5-6)
    2. Building the Third Temple in Jerusalem (Ezek 37:26-28)
    3. In-gathering of Jewish exiles to Israel (Is 11:12& Gen 49:10-11)
    4. Reunification of Judah and Israel into one people (Ezek 37:22)
    5. World peace (Is 2:4)
    6. Universal knowledge of G-d (Is 11:9)
    7. Resurrection of the dead (Is 26:19)
    The same individual must accomplish all these criteria or must be ruled out. If Jesus existed and did all that was attributed to him, he is still NOT Messiah the Prince. (at least not yet) so it is possible, although very doubtful and cannot be proven, that Jesus will return and become the actual Messiah the Prince, but it is not so as of today.

    The only historical evidence that is able to be found is a one line forgery inserted into the writings of Flavius Josephus that earlier manuscript evidence clearly did not have.

    Thank you so much!
    -J

  2. Hi Jay,

    Thank you for your kind words regarding “About Law Keepers – An Overview”.

    The two points that you “cannot get past” have nothing to do, however, with the post you commented on. And it seems that you have more than just two points =o).

    “An Overview” was written for Christians who have come in contact with or are in the Hebrew Roots Movement, a belief system that some would label a “sect” of Christianity, and others would label as a Christian cult. I understand the points you are making in your comment, but they just don’t apply to the issue at hand. Even those in the HRM accept that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah, even if some deny His deity (which is a whole ‘nother subject). Your points have to do with establishing the Messiahship of Jesus, not with primary issues in the Hebrew Roots Movement.

    Following are some links discussing your comments. For more information regarding prophecy fulfilled by Jesus Christ, the Canon of Scripture, and the reliability of the early manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments see:

    http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/messianicprophecies.html
    http://www.biblebb.com/files/howbible.htm
    http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/introductory/q-hasnt-the-new-testament-been-changed.htm
    http://www.christianity.co.nz/bible-3.htm
    http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/m_prophecies.shtml
    http://www.bprc.org/topics/fulfill.html
    http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_V/Greek_text_preserved.htm

    I could list many more, but an internet search will give you more if you truly want to know more.

    Blessings and prayers,
    Wendy at JGIG

  3. And another one. I have just finished telling a similar story. I’m sitting here at 1:30am reading yours an thinking where have all these stories suddenly come from. I now feel confident that I am marching to the beat of a hidden drummer and that I am not alone.

  4. Sorry for being so late in commenting; you commented on this topic in my blog back in October (http://www.fether.net/2008/09/03/hebrew-roots/). This is very well thought out and an excellent resource. Well done!

  5. Hi Paula –

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Resource is what I was going for . . . that and an encouraging and refreshing place. Thanks!

  6. Thank you so much. It’s all starting to make sense now. :)

    Kris from MOMYS

  7. Thank you so much for the info, it was VERY helpful!

  8. I read some of your artice, not all it was just too long and a repeat of what I have been taught most of my adult life in ‘christian churches’.

    I wonder, have you ever considered what ‘bible’ Yahshua taught from? Or the disciples? When Paul was writing his letters, what scriptures did he quote from?

    All scripture is given by inspritation of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrin, reproof, instruction, and corrction in righteousness…hum….interesting enough when this was written there was no bound NT just the terrible ‘law keeping’ Torah and prophets with writings…it says in 2 Thes there will be one who will come a ‘lawless’ one that is, one without the law or a law breaker…he will decieve many. It also says that those who love not the truth will be sent a stong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. 1st John breaks down to us what sin or unrighteousness is:
    Who so ever commets sin transgress (or breaks) the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. In ch 3 of 1st John is states: For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep his commandments: and his commmandments are not grievous. And this is the big one that started me on my search for Yahweh’s truth:
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is aliar and the truth is not in him…
    Yahshua said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Ye that work sin, ye law breaker.

    Yahshua was sinless that means he kept Torah, the NT tells us if we say we know him we should walk as he walked, can’t get around that, it’s not a spiritual thing we have to actually do it. I don’t understand how anyone can think that the very guidelines of our craator our Heavenly Father are currupt or wicked in some way, we are amonished to flee from evil and cling to good…woe to them who call evil good and good evil…

    I don’t know what kind of board you were on but as for as my family goes, we are saved by grace through the precious blood of Messiah Yahshua…he is our passover, our atonement, he dwelt with us (sukkot) without his work on the stake I would not be saved from a life of sin or law breaking. You said you were saved to move forward with Jesus. I say I’m saved to leave a life of law breaking to walk in a life of obedience to my Father and to follow in the foot steps of my Messiah: 1 JOhn 2 3-6
    And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
    He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    • Hi YahChna,

      Welcome to JGIG. You wrote

      I read some of your artice [SIC], not all it was just too long and a repeat of what I have been taught most of my adult life in ‘christian churches’.

      It’s a shame that your attention span was too short to complete reading the post, “About Law Keepers – An Overview“, because if you had, you would have found that much of what is there is NOT taught in churches today. Perhaps that is in part why many dear souls fall prey to the false teachings so prevalent in the Hebrew Roots Movement/Messianic Judaism.

      That said, I’ll respond to the balance of your comment, even though it has nothing to do with the post on which you chose to comment. If you choose to comment in the future, please take a look at the sidebar and click on “Comments Policy”. I did find some things which are common to the HRM/MJism belief systems that are of value to address here at JGIG, so I chose to approve this particular comment.

      You jumped around a lot, so I’ll hit the high points of your post.

      Regarding “I wonder, have you ever considered what ‘bible’ Yahshua taught from? Or the disciples? When Paul was writing his letters, what scriptures did he quote from?”

      Yes, I have been aware of what constitutes Scripture for quite some time. In the time of Yeshua, the Torah, Prophets, and Writings were the Scriptures of the day, and those from which His Messiahship was proven. As He had not yet done the work of the Cross, He was, as was Israel, under the authority of the Law.

      After the work of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, the apostles were given the charge to not only preach the Gospel, but also to teach the fledgling Body of Christ that came to faith in Jesus Christ. What did they teach? We have a record in the New Testament Scriptures. Were those Scriptures available to the fledgling Body of Christ? Internal evidence from the New Testament says that they were. Letters from the apostles were copied and passed around to the various churches. You can read about that HERE.

      Internal evidence for inspiration of NT Scriptures is recorded here:

      2 Peter 3:16,17
      16He [Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

      17Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

      Paul’s writings are put on par with “other Scriptures” – those would have been the Torah, Prophets, and Writings that they had at the time. Paul himself claims inspiration in Galatians, re-establishing his authority as an apostle by the choosing of Jesus Christ:

      Galatians 1:11,12
      11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

      Interestingly, Paul continues in that introductory chapter with this:

      Galatians 1:13-24
      13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

      18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they praised God because of me.

      The Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism line is that Paul was a Pharisee, and rejected only the man-made traditions of his fathers. But here we hear Paul speak of his ‘previous life in Judaism’ indicating that he has NEW life in Christ! Perhaps it is not we [Christians] who misunderstand Paul’s writings, perhaps it is those who continue in the works of the Law for sanctification that misunderstand Paul’s writings.

      About 1 John 3. The last part of that chapter says this:

      1 John 3:11-24
      11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

      16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

      21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

      What is John preaching here? LOVE not LAW. It really is very clear.

      Walking as Christ walked means walking in LOVE. He loved us. Enough to lay down His life for us. His sinless life. And it accomplished something. Read John 15 again and again. Pay special attention here:

      John 15:9-12
      9″As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

      It is in Christ, not the Law that we move forward after the Cross. That fact is evident all throughout the Scriptures written to the Body of Christ. References to being ‘clothed in Christ’, ‘putting on Christ’, knowing what is right and wrong ‘by the Spirit He gave us’, etc. It is IN HIM that we live and move and have our being – not the Law. The Law is useful when it is used properly. However the Law has become the center of the HRM/MJ belief systems, making Christ a way to keep the Law instead of the Law leading us to Christ. Do you see how backwards and out of whack that is?

      Purifications, Feasts, observance of days, new moons, dietary laws . . . those things served the purpose of separating Israel from the nations so the Messiah would be recognized when He came. Beyond that, the sacrificial system gave Israel a temporary solution to the problem of sin. The whole of the Law is to show man his sin and to point us to Christ! The Mosaic Covenant Law was never intended to be the means by which redeemed believers in Christ are sanctified!

      Jesus fulfilled the shadows and types of the Feasts and days found in Mosaic Covenant Law, the sacrificial requirements for both sin and purification, and became our Sabbath rest. What remains? Those parts of the Law that can be fulfilled by walking as Jesus walked – in LOVE.

      Romans 13:8-10
      8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

      If you go and reread 1 John with John 15:9-12 in mind, the message is clearly one of Love, not Law. I understand where you’re coming from, I do. I just find the belief system to which you adhere to be flawed when measured against the whole of the Scriptures – those written before AND after the work of the Cross.

      Blessings to you and your family,
      -JGIG

  9. JGIG~ thank you for responding and posting my comment…to me the law and love are the same, we cannot love without knowing how…thus Yahshua walked out the law to show us how to love…I keep the law because I walk in love, when I walk in love I’m keeping the law.

    Again thanks for your response :-D

    YahKheena

  10. Shalom! You don’t have to post this, I just noticed that I gave the wrong blog name. It’s not chechiersjourney.blogspot.com sorry, it’s

    cheshiersjourney.blogspot.com…agian sorry for the typo

    have a blessed day

  11. From JGIG:

    Apparently “An Overview” has become fodder for a “Torah study” comprised of young women. They then posted a “Refutation” of the overview on their blog. I commented, as they had made an error in the authorship of the overview, and added a few comments about their posts as well.

    They refused to post my comments, so I’ll put them here.

    Part 1 of “Defending the Hebrew Roots”:

    Defending the Hebrew Roots Movement: Part 1
    April 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm · Filed under Commandments/Mitzvot, Instruction/Torah, Tuesday Night Study and tagged: grace-oriented, Hebrew Roots movement, Law Keepers, Sacred Name movement, Torah study

    by girlfortorah & cndllighter

    Last Tuesday at the Torah study we read a post about ” Law Keepers” written by someone with a “grace-oriented” perspective of the completed work of Christ at the cross, who did in-depth research online about the Hebrew Roots Movement and concluded that Law Keepers are wrong in what we teach. So far, we’ve covered five out of ten points.

    POINT #1: Law Keepers minimize what Jesus did at the cross
    “Many Law Keepers believe that Jesus died for past sins, not that there is grace for all sin, which is why they need to keep the ‘instructions’ on how to live. They rely on the Law for sanctification, having it take the place of the Holy Spirit. Law Keepers dismiss the radical change in worship and practice in the New Testament Church after Jesus accomplished what He came to do! The do not recognize the Cross as being a definite dividing line in history, delineating the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.”

    RESPONSE: We rely on the Law for sanctification (being set apart) but not salvation. G-d’s Torah is exactly what makes us different from the world! We do believe that the Holy Spirit, to a degree, is what enables a believer to keep the Torah. I think the writer has a misunderstanding of just “what happened at the Cross”. Nothing changed. The crucifixion symbolized the covenant that G-d made “before the foundations of the world.” It is not a dividing line in history. [cndllighter]

    POINT #2: A subtle, though sometimes outright denial of the Trinity
    “Pagan sun worship has its gods in sets of three, and Law Keepers extrapolate from there that the Catholic church applied that pagan concept of G-d to their doctrine and came up with the Trinity.”

    RESPONSE: I think our writer has gone too far with internet research. Depending on the interpretation, we believe whole-heartedly in the Trinity. The difference can lie solely in the metaphor. My favorite example is the egg vs. water. G-d has been represented before as an egg. It has shell, white, and yolk (separate parts); yet it is one egg. I think a better understanding can be found in water. Just as water can appear as gas, liquid, or solid (same substance), G-d can appear as the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. He is echad (one). [cndllighter]

    POINT #3: Some Law Keepers deny the deity of Jesus
    “Law Keepers believe that Jesus is G-d, yet when you take their doctrine to the eventual end, they remove the power of G-d from the Messiah. What Jesus did is not enough. It is not complete. They in effect remove the G-dly characteristic of omnipotence from Messiah, since their belief system is a ‘Jesus+Law’ equation.”

    RESPONSE: I think we’ve all been told our belief is Jesus+Law, but is it true? May it never be! In truth, this short point was almost skipped, since the title is almost a joke. Of course we believe in the deity of Jesus! He is G-d made flesh – that is a fundamental of our faith. [cndllighter]

    POINT #4: Mandatory use of the Sacred Names
    “Almost universal among Law Keepers, and similar to the ‘Sacred Name Movement,’ some believe that there is one true name for G-d and He requires that we use it or we are in violation with the third commandment.”

    RESPONSE: The writer goes on to say that there are so many different variations on the “true name” of Messiah, that it is impossible to know which is the “right one.” While we are not part of the Sacred Name movement, we know that our Messiah has a Holy Name. Out of reverence, we use titles like ‘HaShem’ (the Name) and ‘Adonai’ (L-rd) instead. This is called circumlocution. Referring to HaShem with dignity and respect, no matter which variation you use, has nothing to do with the third commandment. [cndllighter]

    POINT #5: A tremendous emphasis on the understanding of the scriptures through the lens of a Hebrew thought and of the Hebrew language
    “Most believe that the entire bible was originally written in Hebrew, and that the New Testament was translated into Greek from its original Hebrew. During the translation, they believe ALL New Testament writings were contaminated and corrupted with Hellenistic thought.”

    RESPONSE: Yes! We do believe this. To truly know what something means, you need to go back to the original language. Looking through a “Hebrew Lens” is what brings insight and clarity to our faith. So much becomes clear when seen in historical context. It’s true that “translator bias” sometimes results in scriptural inaccuracy. There’s some debate about the original language of the Apostolic Writings – we believe they were written in Greek, the common language of the times, but the authors were Jewish men with Hebrew mindsets. [cndllighter]

    5 Comments »
    cndllighter wrote @ April 6, 2010 at 11:25 am
    This was such a great look at what probably many people think we believe. What is so encouraging, though, is that we were able to think through her points, and find the holes in her argument, and the sad misunderstanding that she has come to think. What a team! I am so looking forward to finishing the article and going through the last few points.

    torahgirl wrote @ April 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    GREAT job outlining the points, cndllighter. =) I was so impressed at your responses! Defending what we believe is something every girl should be able to do. =)

    Lynn wrote @ April 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm
    I think it would be great to email your replies to this confused person who wrote the article. I believe that if she really is presented with the truth, it could help her not be “sheepwrecked” Great comments by the way!

    torahgirl wrote @ April 15, 2010 at 9:04 am
    At one point, sheepwrecked indicated that Law Keepers rely on the Torah for sanctification, rather than the Holy Spirit. Mr. Upham’s email for day 16 of the omer has this observation about a connection between the Spirit and our ability to keep Torah:

    “The idea that “walking in the Spirit” is somehow removed from being obedient to G-d’s instructions simply ignores the Scriptural definition of what it means to walk in the Spirit. “I will put My Spirit within You and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:27)” =)

    mashiki wrote @ April 15, 2010 at 9:14 am
    Oh I like that! It’s so hard to communicate that keeping Torah isn’t a salvific issue, but a means of walking out our faith in G-d after we have been saved. Thanks for the reference, I’ll be using this one!

    [Notice the only comments allowed were from the members of the blog.]

    My comments that went unposted:

    JGIG wrote @ April 21, 2010 at 1:37 am
    Hi Ladies,

    Pretty blog =o).

    I am the author of the post you reference at JoyfullyGrowingInGrace. Sheepwrecked is a friend of mine, and their testimony is featured on the Testimonies Page at JGIG, but Sheepwrecked did not write “About Law Keepers – An Overview. Sheepwrecked has their own blog at http://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/ if you would like to take a peek.

    For accuracy, you may want to edit “sheepwrecked” out and replace it with “JGIG”.

    Just a few points:

    1) A portion of my research regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism Movements has been examining online resources (including those on your link sidebar), but most of what I’ve learned has been in dialogue with those in the movement(s), those who are no longer in the movement(s), and spending LOTS of time in the Word.

    2) The Overview was not intended as a “catch-all” for what those in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism stream of faith believe. As I’ve examined the HRM/MJism, it’s become clear that there are lots of different tributaries in that stream of faith =o). I liken the belief system to chili recipes . . . you can get chili recipes from 10 different people and they will all be a little different, but they’re all chili. That’s very much like what I see in the HRM/MJism.

    The Overview contains red-flag raisers relative to Biblical Christianity. I didn’t say that all HRMers believe all of the things in the Overview.

    I’ve gotten to know those on the fringes of the movement (sacrifice a goat for Passover and circumcised all the male members of their family to be Torah compliant) as well as those who simply like to keep the Feasts and a seventh-day Sabbath.

    The Overview was a compilation of things that jumped out at me early in my experience with the HRM/MJism that I felt led to share on my blog, as well as with others that were being influenced by these teachings at the time.

    I’m kind of tickled that the post from my little blog became fodder for your study.

    I’ll continue in a separate comment below if you permit . . .

    Blessings as you seek His Face,
    -JGIG

    JGIG wrote @ April 21, 2010 at 2:01 am
    Hi again,

    I won’t take your post on point by point, as I understand that this is not a debate forum, however this point just made me sad:

    You wrote: “We rely on the Law for sanctification (being set apart) but not salvation. G-d’s Torah is exactly what makes us different from the world! We do believe that the Holy Spirit, to a degree, is what enables a believer to keep the Torah. I think the writer has a misunderstanding of just “what happened at the Cross”. Nothing changed. The crucifixion symbolized the covenant that G-d made “before the foundations of the world.” It is not a dividing line in history.”

    I have found the above to be pretty consistent in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism Movement(s). To say that “Nothing changed” with what Jesus did at the Cross just grieves my heart so much! What Jesus did at the Cross changed EVERYTHING! God in the Flesh came and died for YOU. He came to free you from the slavery of sin. He came to make you a NEW CREATION! And He came not to make Law Breakers into Law Keepers, but to make spiritually DEAD people spiritually ALIVE by indwelling them with His Holy Spirit.

    Beyond that, Mosaic Covenant Law was never intended to be a method of sanctification. It set apart a chosen people, Israel, so that when Messiah came, He would be recognized. In addition, it provided God’s chosen with a temporary way to deal with sin (the sacrificial system) while also providing them with a social structure.

    The application of the Law after the Cross is to point people to Christ, by showing them Who He is, and showing them their sin.

    Mosaic Covenant Law as a method of sanctification for the believer in Christ cannot be supported with Scriptures written to the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is Who sanctifies us. I explore this concept in the post https://joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/the-hebrew-roots-movement-so-what/ .

    It grieves me that those in HRM/MJism misuse Mosaic Covenant Law, becoming Torah-centric instead of Christ-centric. That’s why I blog at JoyfullyGrowingInGrace.

    Blessings, ladies,
    -JGIG

    Part 2 to follow . . .

  12. Part 2 from the young women’s Torah study’s blog:

    Defending the Hebrew Roots Movement: Part II
    April 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm · Filed under Commandments/Mitzvot, Instruction/Torah, Tuesday Night Study and tagged: diaspora, Ephramites, Hebrew Roots movement, homeschoolers, Law Keepers, lost ten tribes, Sacred Name movement, two house theory

    by godsgirl13

    Continued from a previous post, “Defending the Hebrew Roots Movement: Part I.”

    POINT #6: Watch for the doctrine that teaches if you don’t observe the sabbath, you are taking on the mark of the beast.

    This doctrine is entirely unfounded. In addition, her notion that the vast majority of HRM believes this is equally ridiculous considering she only knows ONE law keeper who concurs. [godsgirl13]

    POINT #7: Watch for language about hidden information, the “rest of the gospel,” or something that was erased.

    What was she trying to get across here? Well, she says that we are the perfect setup for the same thing cults do, indicating that HRM is a cult. Can’t any religion or sect of religion be called a cult? She also states that we, the “law keepers,” are constantly revealing “hidden” or “forgotten” or “erased” truths. Nothing was ever erased! We just needed to stop looking through the western gentile antisemitic lens and try on a new pair of glasses. When you look at who wrote the scripture, who they wrote it to, and who they wrote it about (the Jewish Messiah), through a Hebraic lens, there’s a lot more clarity! [godsgirl13]

    POINT #8: Some law keepers consider themselves to be actual Israel, part of the lost ten tribes (the diaspora), and label themselves as “Ephraim.”

    Yes, there are some law keepers who believe the “Two House theory.” Keep in mind the Two House theory is debatable and supported by a minority in the HRM. [godsgirl13]

    POINT #9: The Homeschooling Connection

    This is by far the most amusing claim she makes! She indicates that homeschoolers in general are extremely gullible, susceptible to all kinds of nonsense. For example, sheepwrecked knew ONE mom in a particular homeschool support group whose family was not Torah observant, but after reading “A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays” (AKA “the big purple book” – maybe you own it too? ), this mom felt commanded to start celebrating the Biblical holidays. And this is bad why??? [godsgirl13]

    POINT #10: Hebrew Roots and the Sacred Name Movement want you to buy products.

    Why is this a bad thing? Christians spend money too! They buy their favorite version of the Bible, “Christian” music, cross necklaces… Is that wrong? Not at all. What is wrong with buying things that we use to glorify G-d? [godsgirl13]

    Note: this 2-part series has been a review of “About Law Keepers – An Overview,” found here.

    Permalink

    No comments yet »

    Well, there are comments, they just wouldn’t post them =o).

    I reposted the authorship issue from part 1, and won’t repeat that here. To the posters’ credit, they did repair the authorship issues with their post. I also submitted this:

    Hi again, from the writer of the above reviewed post,
    About item #6: This is not an uncommon belief in the HRM. I agree with you that the doctrine is entirely unfounded. Unfortunately, that fact does not stop many in the HRM from believing it anyway.

    About item #7:

      Here is that item in context from my post:

    “7) Watch for language about information that has been hidden, the rest of the gospel, or that which has been erased. It’s the perfect set up for the same thing that cults do: convince you that what you know cannot possibly be true, or is incomplete, then come in with ‘fresh revelation’ based on previously ‘hidden’ information. The Hebrew Roots Movement is absolutely saturated with the revealing of so-called ‘hidden’ or ‘forgotten’ or ‘erased’ ‘truths’.”

    Any of you who have been in the HRM for any length of time know that ‘digging deeper’ and finding ‘hidden insight’ is a part of the appeal. You can go to some of the sites you link to on your sidebar and find such terminology. The Body of Christ has had it wrong for the last 1900 years . . . only now the HRM has it right. Right . . . .

    About item #9: Interesting that you included NO text from the post on this point yet provided commentary as to what you say I meant. Let the reader decide if they choose to go to the actual post https://joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/about-law-keepers-an-overview/.

    I’ve also posted here: https://joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/hebrew-roots-movement-salesmanship-101/ expanding on point #9 a bit: “There is another group of Christians that I’ve observed that are susceptible to the errors in the Hebrew Roots Movement – that is the Homeschooling community. We (and I include my family in that community) tend to be an independent lot, overall. We tend question the status quo, question things more than the average bear, and have a tendency to be a bit counter-cultural and open to new concepts and ideas, while at the same time holding to basic traditional ideals. We are not afraid to embrace ‘unique’ ways of doing things – if something isn’t working the way it’s being done, we are willing to try doing it differently. Those qualities in and of themselves are good things, providing the flexibility that those of us who homeschool tend to build in to our daily lives of educating our children at home.

    However those qualities can be a double edged sword if a family is in a place of discontent, woundedness, or rebellion in their place of worship or feels like they can’t find any place with ‘like-minded’ believers to worship. Some prefer to ‘home-church’, while others find a ‘home fellowship’ in which to worship. I want to be careful in how I couch this, because I don’t want to lump all home fellowships together, but understand that some home fellowships are perfect venues in which those in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements can (and do) introduce and promote their ideas. Depending on how the leadership is set up (assuming there is any leadership structure or shared accountability at all), there is the potential for the teaching or ‘sharing’ of false doctrine to slip through from families or leadership who are on ‘the ancient path’.”

    Our family of nine is a homeschooling family, and the philosophies and streams of thought that can cross the homeschooler’s path are many. Discernment is so important as we raise our little lambs in what we choose to teach them. Calling families to discernment is a good thing in the spiritual climate of today I think you would agree, no matter your point of view.

    It appears you’re familiar with ‘The big purple book’ . . . are you familiar with everything you’re getting in that book?

    Discernment, ladies, discernment.

    May Jesus become the center of your belief systems, not merely Mosaic Covenant Law.

    Blessings,
    -JGIG
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    As I have found in other venues that are under Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism control, dissenting opinion is not permitted. And most of the above overview was my opinion based on observation, but clarification of those views was not permitted. Notice also that the ‘defense’ that was offered of the HRM contained NO Scripture, and one out-of-context OT Scripture (regarding sanctification for the Body of Christ) contained in the comments (which were as I noted before all from posters on the blog).

    Those of you who read here who know that the HRM/MJism is a false belief system please pray for this group of young ladies, that they would read the whole of the Word of God for themselves and really examine what they have been taught.

    Not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,
    -JGIG

  13. “torahgirl” from Candlelighters felt compelled to respond to my comments on her and the girls’ blog, though my comments were not posted there. Here’s what she had to say:

    torahgirl wrote @ April 23, 2010 at 11:06 am
    “Interestingly, we ended up having some contact with the author of the article mentioned above. This person posted several comments here, attempting to continue the discussion by reiterating their points. I chose not to publish those comments since I felt it would add confusion to the issue, and Candlelighters is not a debate forum. We are a place for women who cherish the Torah – it doesn’t seem like we have much common ground with this person.

    However, it was brought to my attention that our entire response did not have Scriptural support, and I wanted to explain that fact. This article was almost entirely wrong in describing what we believe. If you look at Part I, we’re being accused of denying the deity of Yeshua, denying HaShem or the Ruach HaKodesh, making people use the Sacred Name, etc. Responses to these points don’t need Scriptures. We basically said, “that’s not true – we do believe that.” Our response to the 5th point, interpreting Scripture through a Hebrew lens, stated that the Bible was written by Jews. Do we need a Bible verse for this? =)

    In Part II, we corrected another false statement. Again, no Scripture necessary to say that we *agree* with the article’s author, who apparently also does not believe that non-Sabbath observance is taking the mark of the beast. There is no Scripture to back up that belief – which is why we DON’T believe it.

    I personally don’t agree with the two house theory, but that’s a controversial topic which we’re not specifically addressing in this post.

    As for ideas like “homeschoolers fall into a Torah trap” or “HRM is wrong because they sell things,” I don’t think we need Scripture to brush those off with a smile.

    Our purpose in discussing this article was to practice defending our faith in several ways, for example: logic. Learning to spot the flaw in an argument or an ad homonym attack is important! =)”

    ————————–

    Dear ‘torahgirl’,

    I didn’t accuse ‘you’ of believing or not believing anything in particular. An overview is by definition a ‘catch-all’, and not meant to be definitive of any one flavor or another of any one thing or another.

    As I explained in the comments that you refuse to publish, the Overview contains red-flag raisers relative to Biblical Christianity. I didn’t say that all HRMers believe all of the things in the Overview.

    The Overview was a compilation of things that jumped out at me early in my experience with the HRM/MJism that I felt led to share on my blog, as well as with others that were being influenced by these particular teachings at the time. Ironically enough, I posted about the particular views, some of which you take issue, because I knew that those observations and questioning of those beliefs would never be published in the venue in which they had become an issue. Deja Vu all over again =o).

    As for the posts and comments at candlelighters, the treatment of the material was shallow and defensive, without letting us know what you actually believe or the Biblical basis for it.

    If you consider your 2-part post to be an adequate refutation of my post and defense of your faith, I have great hope for you! I say that because your response was an emotional one, not based on a confidence in what you actually believe. When you are ready to really take a look at Jesus and what He did means, I pray that you will take it more seriously than you have this ‘defense’ you’ve put forth on your blog.

    I pray that someday you’ll think of yourself more as ‘Jesus’ girl’ rather than ‘torahgirl’ – that Jesus would become the central and most important part of who you are and not merely the law that points to Him.

    Step out of the shadows, ladies, and step into the reality that is Christ!

    Every blessing,
    -JGIG

  14. Candlelighters continues to allow responses to my unpublished – and unseen by their readers – comments. Yup, you can [mis]characterize something you won’t let anyone see, can’t you, ladies? With this most recent comment, you’re at the very least dancing with bearing false witness against me. Careful, ladies, I think there is a commandment about that . . .

    As posted on Candlelighters regarding the Overview post above:

    eshetkayil wrote @ April 26, 2010 at 6:48 am
    Great point, torahgirl. Having gotten to see the unpublished comments from the author personally, I was sorry to see what a bitter person they have become. The patronizing, condescending tone of both this article and their comments suggested to me that they have simply been lied to about this movement in general. Perhaps they were a part of the fringes or something, and only got a taste of the really weird things some people in HRM practice. I think it’s so sad that the author left the movement with all this misunderstanding!
    ——————
    Ladies, you need to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. When you originally published your 2 part ‘refutation’, you got the authorship of the Overview wrong. You also misquoted or mischaracterized the points from the Overview that you ‘refuted’.

    If you spend some time at JGIG you’ll realize that you (eshetkayil in particular) have made several MAJOR errors in your comment, the biggest being that I was ever IN the HRM.

    Let the reader decide – based on the posting of ALL the comments above – whether or not your accusations against me are valid.

    Do you realize that you’re engaging in a practice of cults? You must not allow disagreement, your view is the only view permitted. Look through the posts and comments here at JGIG . . . there are lots of people who have raised honest differences and disagreements with what I’ve posted. Their view is permitted, as I AM NOT AFRAID TO ENGAGE IN HONEST DEBATE WITH THEM.

    Are you concerned that you may not be able to defend your faith as well as you think you can? Do you really think that your post and published comments (which amount to the equivalent of a verbal drive-by shooting) are a hearty defense for your beliefs?

    Not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
    -JGIG

  15. I very much appreciated your blog and comments. I believe they are very well reasoned and full of grace, contrary to the “bitter” accusation from someone else. I am posting to you because I just found out some very close relatives have been involved with this movement for over a year now and are following the sabbath, dietary and various laws of the Torah. I was not sure quite what to make of what they said to me about it. Being primarily reform minded, I cannot practice this or encourage my family to practice this. I am very concerned with the “cult” like implications of this movement. Since they are very close relatives, I do not want to break off communication or fellowship with them. I want to reason this out with them, but I am concerned about jumping in too quickly and strengthening their resolve that what they practicing is correct. I am open to suggestions since you have quite a bit of experience in this area.

    Thanks for your posts and website

    • Hi redsquirrel –

      Sorry to hear that your family has been touched by a Law ‘keeping’ sect. I’m glad you found JGIG. The purpose of this place is to provide a resource regarding the core issues of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and some tools with which to defend it.

      As you engage in discourse with your family, try to keep the following things in mind:

      1) Pray for them, then pray some more, and when you’ve done that, pray again =o).

      2) As you talk things over with them, try to keep things focused on the core issues of the Gospel, as that is where Truth/error will stand or fall. According to Romans 14, what days or dietary laws one observes are secondary disputable issues. We are to show deference to the Body in such things. Don’t even let those things be a battleground on your end. Again, the core issues, those things which are indisputable, are where Truth/error will stand or fall. Those core issues are the things I’ve tried to focus on at JGIG. You might want to read, Romans 14: Indisputable Matters – Torah or the Gospel?, as Law ‘keeping’ sects have of course had to reinterpret what Paul was really saying in that chapter, ha.

      3) Be encouraged that the Gospel will always stand and prove itself. I have found this time and time again as ‘hidden meanings’ and ‘special insight’ have been presented to me. There have been times that I’ve felt like, “Uh oh, they’ve got me there. I’m stumped.”, but then when I go and study it out, the Gospel indeed stands, and the false teaching falls. It’s really very cool =o)!

      4) They will try to steer you down all kinds of rabbit trails. Keep your focus on Scripture and what it says – don’t get caught up in what Constantine did or any of the other bazillion things they’ll bring up to tell you how corrupt ‘churchianity’ is. Stay focused on the Body of Christ and what the Bible says about her. What flawed believers throughout time have done/not done in the Church has no bearing on what Scripture actually says on any given matter. Keep Scripture as your foundation and authority.

      5) Don’t let your ‘reformed mindset’ get in your way =o). Belief ‘systems’ as a rule tend to be flawed in some way. Take your stand on what Scripture actually says and not what Calvin says it says. Calvin got a lot of stuff right, but when I look at what Scripture says, he got some stuff really wrong, too. Just my opinion, take it or leave it.

      6) Go through the Series Page. There you will find several posts dealing with key issues presented by those in Law ‘keeping’ sects. Not exhaustive by any means, but comprehensive and a good starting point on some of the core issues that are sure to come up.

      7) Did I mention pray?

      -JGIG

  16. Thank you for your response and your comments. Yes, you did mention pray, and I have been and will continue to do so. I have heard the Constantine argument already along with the things his mother did. As for my reformed mindset, the reformed movement helped me gain a much clearer understanding of God’s grace. After reading thru more of your website and some other materials, I believe the HR movement is the antithesis of God’s grace. Again, thanks for your ministry and your website. You have been very helpful.

    • Hi Redsquirrel,

      I’ll be praying too =o). Constantine’s mother? That’s a new one I haven’t heard before!

      I’m glad that you’ve been able to get a good understanding of Grace from reformed teachings. I agree with much of what Calvin taught, but I’m firm when it comes to the concept of Free Will. I also part ways with the Limited Atonement bit. I don’t see how that can be reconciled with “whosoever believes”. I also think a good case can be made for the Scriptures speaking of the elect on a ‘Body of Christ’ basis rather than an individual basis. But these are secondary debatable issues (and boy, do they get debated!), and issues which I’m confident God will be happy to clear up for us someday =o). God does the drawing, we do the repenting, Jesus does the saving, and the Holy Spirit does the sanctifying! All Glory to God!

      Your instincts are right on about the HRM being the antithesis of Grace. It is a Torah-centric and self-absorbing belief system which has to draw attention to the works that it performs instead of letting the Fruits of the Spirit speak for themselves. I pray that it will go well for you with your family, and that if it does not, that you will be peaceful nonetheless.

      Blessings to you,
      -JGIG

  17. Dear JGIG,

    I have read 90% of your posts, save 2, and I want to say that I have been blessed.

    I started with your post on “Law of Christ – defined and defended.” and was glad to see much confirmation of what I believe in.

    Keep up your good work. You write very clearly and much better than many books on Law and grace.

    I wish you were one of my church members; you outshine them all in your wisdom on law and grace.

    In these last days, the church’s fundamental doctrine of grace is facing an onslaught from 2 extremes: (1) reverting to the Law of Moses, (2) grace without the need for obedience to the law (holiness).

    These two extremes are very popular, the former feeding on our pride in works, the later feeding our flesh.

    Having read your posts, including the above, allow me to provide an answer to the “Law Keepers” who constantly argue that to love God is to obey the Law, in their case the Torah; and that grace people are “lawless” (echoes of Matthew 7:23, NAS )

    They are right in a sense, because Jesus said that “if you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15).

    However, it is not the Torah, but the Law of Christ that we obey.

    In fact, you could have made 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 the central scriptural text for your grace postings on the HRM, and that would have opened their eyes to a tipping point, and saved you a lot of grief.

    I quote: “20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.”

    Paul is very clear Here:

    (1) He was not under the Law of Moses (context of verse 20).
    (2) He was not without law. ie. He was not lawless, and neither are we.
    (3) He was under Christ’s Law (or the Law of Christ).

    Could anything be more clearer, unless we chose to agree only with scriptures that fit our way of life?

    I am writing from Penang, Malaysia; but the issues facing the church at large are issues of this age, and no church is immune from the deceptions that seek to destroy God’s sheep.

    Shalom,

    Andrew

    • Thank you, Andrew!

      Great comments. Paul is very clear, and in no way contradicts Jesus or the Torah, nor is Paul ‘misunderstood’ as so many in Law keeping streams of thought assert.

      Thank you for your kind words, and we’ll meet sometime in eternity!

      Every blessing,
      -JGIG

  18. Great article! Agree with much of what you say about the law keepers. I went through this same process last year. Paul even says in Rom. 2:15 “..the gentiles who HAVE NO LAW…” [emphsis mine]. Law was never given to the gentiles only the Israelites. So why do gentiles (many in Christianity [Messianics, et al tithing etc.) try to keep something that was never given to them? But the gentiles do by nature those things contained in the law having the law written on their hearts. I do disagree with your proofs on the trinity. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere in the scriptures of its existence and is presumed; this is even admitted by most if not all books on theology. Frankly, It is Catholic heresy adopted by the early church and is still prevelent today which is one of the causes (free will being the other) of the churches current state of apostacy. Note; Mt. 3:15-17 it says GOD’S SPIRIT, this is not evidence of a “third person” it is something coming OUT OF God. Same in Acts 2:33 “…and having RECEIVED OF THE FATHER [emphsis mine] the promise of the Holy Ghost…” The Holy Spirit was received OF THE FATHER. Also, how come there is no throne for the Holy Spirit if He is a third person of the trinity just as there is a throne for Jesus? And just because these verses mention three people is not evidence of the trinity. In 1 Cor. 8:6 it says …there in ONE GOD, AND ONE LORD… this supports and is congruent with the rest of scripture. In Luke 1:35 it says that the Holy ghost is the power of the Highest, and Jesus is the SON OF GOD not the Son of the holy spirit; again, this is in agreement with the rest of scripture it compliments it rather than contradicting it. We just need to belive it. Christ is a created being and in not absolute diety! See John 3:16 “begotton Son” and Rev; 3:14 where the angel of the church of the Laodiceans…the faithful and true witness, the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD; [MY EMPHSIS]. This verse in Revelation is saying that Christ is a created being and is in agreement with John 3:16 and Lk. 1:33 and the other verses you cite as evidence of the trinity. The big lie is that If Christ is absolute God (big G, the Father) and is absolute deity then He could not have died; absolute deity can not die! If Christ did not die then there was no atonement and we are still in our sins. Ultimately this is the insidious pitfall behind the trinity – the idea that Christ really did not die and shed His blood for the remission of sins. The death of Christ is central to the Gospel 1 Cor. 15:1-3 …Christ died for our sins…The trinity denies this truth.

    Grace and Peace, David

    • Hey Dave,

      Welcome to JGIG and for your kind words about the post.

      Regarding the Trinity – I won’t debate it here with you except to say that God in the Flesh was not killed; He chose to let His body die. And that was not the end of it! He rose again! And through His resurrection we have life in Him.

      Blessings,
      -JGIG

  19. @”Law Keepers minimize what Jesus did at the Cross”
    Some do, but that is not true for everyone who follows the law. Christian denominations still do follow some sort of a law or code, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

    @”denial of the Trinity.”
    Where in the Bible is it stated that the belief in a triune God is required of us?

    @”5-7″
    I do agree with these. Those are some of the reasons why I do not want to join the HRM.

    @ “Galatians”
    I strongly feel that the Galatians verses are largely misused. I came to the conclusion that the issue was not over keeping the law, but to attempts to be justified by the law.

    • Point 1: Agreed. That’s why this site points out the very point you make. See the following posts:

      Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live?
      The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended

      Point 2: Who do you propose should lose Their Deity? Think through the implications of each possibility.

      Point 3: Cool.

      Point 4: Galatians is about both issues, not one or the other. Paul masterfully preaches the Truths of the Gospel in the Letter to the Galatians. That’s the beauty of the Gospel – the Gospel corrects error and brings LIFE, so no matter the ailment, the Gospel is the Cure! So if there are lost folks or folks in error, the Gospel will, if they’re willing, bring them back to Truth =o).

    • On the 4th point: while there is absolutely nothing wrong with following the Law, or trying to, for those whose hearts are in bondage to a lust for righteousness, everything is wrong with it. It’s like an alcoholic saying, “there’s nothing wrong with just one drink.” While that’s true, for an alcoholic there’s no such animal as “just one drink.”

      While righteousness is good, and hungering after righteousness is good, allowing that hunger to rule the heart is evil. It’s a lust of the heart for some, and it leads to some interesting behavior. I was living in a small community of Christians in Israel, and one day, a friend of ours came to visit. While he and I were talking in the living room, one of the women in the community set up the ironing board, and proceeded to iron her clothes. After a while, my friend looked over, and asked, chuckling, “Are you ironing your underwear?”
      She replied, as if she was doing the most logically obvious thing in the world, “Of course!”
      NEVER EVER should such a person start following the Law.
      Likewise, there are those who are seeking their identity before God somewhere besides being in Christ. They slip into the HRM because they start referring to themselves as spiritual Israel or something.

In 500 words or less . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: