• 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.

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  • 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 change hosting sites 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

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Easter and the Spring Feasts – Crumbs in Your Peanut Butter

It’s that time of year, believers.  Concerned family members are telling you to not celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter and are preparing their homes and themselves to observe the Spring Feasts of Israel.

I read the following on the Faith, Grace, and Torah Facebook page last night:

” . . . I am now again suited up, ready to fight, without fear of man, and I will be active again, especially leading into Passover. Judases will arise the closer we get to Passover, as that spirit does every year, and Amalek will arise and is rising again, and I will not make the mistake of leaving one single Amalekite alive, and I will continue to persue and hunt every one of them down and slay them with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of the ONLY living Elohim/God.”

Let me encourage you that as you interact with the Law-keepers in your life to love them well and to keep pointing them to Christ, His Work, and who they are in Him.

Our walk in Christ is not meant to be a series of battles in a grand war with many enemies.

Christ taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, not to ‘slay them with the Sword of the Spirit’.

NO.

We are to be ambassadors of LIFE by sharing the Truths of the Gospel:

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  (from 2 Cor. 5)

And LIFE is what the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is all about – not only HIS indestructible life, but the New Life imparted to US in Christ.

These are realities in Christ which are indeed worth celebrating \o/ !!!

So to repeat:  As you interact with the Law-keepers in your life,

—> Love them well
—> Keep pointing them to Christ, His Work, and who they are in Him.

Here is a link to an article (can also be found on the Articles Page here at JGIG) that addresses the common arguments regarding the early church and the establishment of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, commonly known as Easter.  There are four areas addressed by the article:

Below is a repeat of a post from a couple of years ago regarding the Spring Feasts and our relationship to them in the New Covenant.

Grace and peace to you all who are on the ‘front lines’ with those who choose to ‘do battle’ with you.
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The Spring Feasts of God – Crumbs in Your Peanut Butter

Last year around this time I read a comment on a Law-keeping forum about preparing for the Spring Feasts. Regarding getting the leaven out opeanut-butterf their homes, it seems that in addition to removing obvious leaven from the home (yeast, baking powder, baking soda, all fermenting/leavening agents along with all leavened breads and any food products containing leaven including frozen and canned products, condiments, etc.), it’s also important to get rid of any peanut butter and jelly, as crumbs from leavened bread can get transferred into the containers by one’s knife. Another person posted how they should probably get rid of their mayo, too, ‘just in case’.

One does have to wonder, in case WHAT?!

What great calamity will happen to the one in Christ if there are crumbs in their mayonnaise jar during the Spring Feasts? Leaven is a symbol of sin, not sin itself. Even then, after the work of Christ, this is what God has to say:

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

In Christ, this is how we are to celebrate, understanding that >> we << can never get every speck of leaven (representing sin) out of our lives:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeastas you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Folks, this season of remembrance is not about >> US << getting sin (leaven) out of our lives and going through the object lesson that Israel did every year, it’s about
>>> JESUS <<< and how HE has already CLEANSED those in Christ from our sins and about remembering, in the bread and the wine, HIM and what HE has already DONE.

We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Cor. 5:21) We are not to dwell on sin, we are to dwell on the Gift of Righteousness we have in Christ:

Romans 5:17
17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

righteous11

If you want to do the object lessons of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to learn how God designed His Law and its shadows to perfectly point to Christ, that’s fine. But to attempt to observe the Old Covenant, as those without Christ did – year after year – after Christ has already fulfilled those shadows and commanded us to remember HIS Body – broken for us – and HIS Blood – shed for us – in the bread and the wine . . .

Let me put it this way:

God does not care about the crumbs in your peanut butter, jelly or mayo jars. He just doesn’t. He cares about the condition of your heart and whether or not you are in Christ:

1 John 3:23-24
23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24The one who keeps God’s commands lives 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.

The Law ‘keeper’ is constantly working to get the leaven (sin) out, by observing this day or avoiding that food or wearing fringes on their clothes, when Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6, reiterated in 1 John 3 above) and then went on to state how HE is the Bread from heaven, and HE is the Living Water. Jesus then goes about systematically replacing elements found in the Old Testament and the Law with HIMSELF. Many left Him after that (John 6:66).

We are to partake in HIM. Remember HIM. We are not to strive as those without Christ did by observing ritual and regulation in Feast observances, but to remember what Christ HAS ALREADY DONE! “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me . . . This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood, poured out for you.” (From Luke 22)

Romans 7:4-6
4So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6
4Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

calvin-hobbes-spirit-of-the-law

I’ve heard it said that as soon as a law is given, mankind starts looking for loopholes. In Christ, we don’t have to look for loopholes, because we are not under law. We can walk in the newness of the life that we have in Christ (Romans 6:4), led by the Spirit He gave us (Ephesians 1, Galatians 5), walking not in Law and bearing its fruit (sin, death, fruit unto death Romans 7:5, 7-8, 9-11), but walking in His Spirit, bearing His Fruit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5).

We often hear from those in Law-keeping camps, “Choose ye this day Whom you will serve!” and “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (YHWH)!” (Joshua 24:15)

In the New Covenant, walking in His Spirit is the way to serve God. Those in Christ are led by His Spirit; we are no longer under Law. In a very practical sense, that means that we can spend more time actively loving others and sharing the Grace of God in the Gospel with them instead of spending time inspecting our peanut butter jars.

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, 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 other testimonies on 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley

One popular and widely shared teaching from Jim Staley is ‘Identity Crisis’, considered to be one of the ’gateway’ videos that gets folks more interested in the Hebraic Roots of their faith.  This page will address that teaching specifically as well as some other related teachings from Jim Staley.

Since I receive so many emails and private messages asking about the Hebrew Roots Movement teacher Jim Staley and Passion For Truth Ministries, I’ve put this page together so that folks can send out a link to an examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and other related Staley teachings.  A link to this page will also appear on the Articles Page here at JGIG.

There are a lot of teachings produced by Passion For Truths’ Jim Staley and there is no way logistically to evaluate them all.  A more practical approach is to take a few key teachings and find out how they fare when placed alongside the simple Truths of the Gospel as portrayed in the whole of the Scriptures:

  • Who Jesus is
  • What He came to do
  • What that actually accomplished, and
  • Who those who believe in Christ are in Him.

Another gateway teaching by Jim Staley that draws believers into the Hebrew Roots Movement, ‘Truth or Tradition’, will not be addressed here, since there are other resources which well address the issues raised in that video.

Two such excellent resources are Exit and Support Network and Ralph Woodrow’s ‘The Babylon Connection?‘, both of which do a good job sorting out truth from fiction regarding holidays. The Articles Page here at JGIG also has holiday-related articles listed under the letters “C” and “E” (which also has Two House/Ephraimite Doctrine articles).  As you navigate through that page (for which there is also a tab with a direct link at the top of this page) the articles are clearly titled.

Another reason I’ll not be dealing with the holiday issue here is that it really is a secondary disputable issue; I have no desire to convince folks to observe or not observe seasons or days, but am content, in the spirit of Romans 14, to leave their practices in such matters to their consciences.  The resources above are offered to help believers sort out the issues.Identity Crisis in Christ

Jim Staley’s ‘Identity Crisis’ teaching, however, is not a teaching regarding secondary disputable matters, but goes to the very core of the Gospel and is a teaching that twists the Truths of who believers are in Christ.

A relative sent me Jim Staley’s ‘Identity Crisis’ video link on YouTube many months ago, saying that the Lord woke them one night and felt that the Lord was prompting them to send it to me.  They had no idea that I’d ever heard of Jim Staley or that I was very familiar with his teachings.  Following is a detailed response to the teaching as well as some of some of Staley’s related teachings, edited and expanded for this venue.

Public Evaluation of Public Teachings

One more thing I’ll address here: Many who follow Jim Staley and Passion For Truth Ministries will take issue with this page.  They will write to me or on their own sites or on their Facebook pages about how I ‘should have gone to Jim personally if I have a problem with him’.

Folks, this is not an issue where I feel that Jim Staley has personally sinned against me.  He is a preacher/teacher out there claiming very publicly that he has Truth.  Jim Staley aggressively markets his brand of Law-keeping world-wide, and there are thousands of PFT DVDs and CDs that get passed around in the Body as well as PFT having a strong presence on YouTube and other online audio/video outlets.  Passion For Truth Ministries also has a strong presence on Facebook.

The search terms ‘Jim Staley Cult’, ‘Jim Staley false teacher’, ‘Jim Staley heresy’ and similar phrases are the most used search terms after this site’s name that bring people to JGIG, sending them to the Identifying False Teaching article, where a commenter asks about Jim Staley specifically.  As much as I hate to put the spotlight on any one teacher, it has become evident to me that the time has long since come for a few of Staley’s core teachings to be examined here at JGIG.

The comments function on this page has been turned off.  This page is for educational purposes and is published on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.  For those of you who think that’s unfair, note that Passion For Truth has not allowed comments on their videos for, as of this writing, about a year.  You will, however, find a contact form at the bottom of this page where you can give feedback that will be sent to my email.

This page has information that anyone can check out for themselves.  I provide links to each of the teachings in question as well as many time stamps and transcriptions for specific issues raised.  I encourage folks to watch the teachings referenced in total to get a feel for context and tone.  I have no interest in it seeming like I’m trying to railroad someone by taking their words out of context.

Note that in the past, once he becomes aware of scrutiny regarding his teaching materials, Jim Staley has been known to have his staff edit out clips that have been addressed, take down and repost videos under different URLs so that original links will no longer work, or mark certain videos as ‘private’.

Other folks concerned about the teachings of Jim Staley have taken to YouTube, using clips of Staley’s teachings and evaluating them in video form.  Staley has had many of those videos successfully removed claiming copyright infringement.  Videos that remain are those that post ‘fair use’ laws in their introductions.

All that to say this:  Jim Staley seems to not like being challenged.  I note these things here so that if you as readers click on a link that does not work or go to a time stamp that does not say what’s transcribed in the article below, consider the possibility that the URL/content may have been altered by PFT.

Let me be clear:  I have no beef with Jim Staley personally.  This page is about examining his teachings and theology, seeing how they measure up when placed alongside contextual Scripture and proper interpretive practices and the simple Truths of the Gospel.

For those of you who are aware of other issues with Jim Staley and are wondering if those issues will be addressed here:  No, they will not.  This page is only about examining Jim Staley’s teachings.  At the end of the page there are some ‘More Concerns’ regarding the origins of PFT Ministries and his leadership style.

May God grant you wisdom and discernment as you read the following:

Click here to read the entire page.

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Related, off-site articles:

These off-site resources are offered with the understanding that the value of these resources outweigh any disagreements I may have with those sources.  Lots of good information below; as always, read/listen with discernment.

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Other related articles available at JGIG:

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A Bit of Housekeeping – New Resources at JGIG

(Updated 10/7/13) – I’ve been wanting for some time now to put together a resource page/pages for solid teachings regarding the simple truths of the Gospel and teachings with an emphasis on New/Old Covenant issues for the growth, edification, encouragement, and equipping of those who come to JGIG.  I’ve compiled a collection of balanced teachings and have found a need to rearrange the tabs with drop-down menus just a wee bit at the top of JGIG to accommodate the extra content.

The new Media tab, has replaced the Contact JGIG tab.  More about this in a minute.

Media Tab

Media is just that; the resources listed within that drop-down menu include audio, video, and text resources as well as a music category:

Audio and Text Resources

Video Resources

Music

Two drop-down categories have been moved from the Good Links (now just Links for the sake of space) tab to the Media tab:  the audio series on Hebrews (which can be found in the Audio and Text Resources menu under ‘Aaron Budjen’) and the Music category.

There is now also The Gospel tab, with one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel I’ve ever heard; gentle and joyful, yet thorough.

The Gospel Tab

Contact JGIG:
The page with the email link for reaching JGIG is now located under the About tab:

About Tab

That drop-down menu now reads (when you hover your cursor over or click on the About tab):

Statement of Faith

Comments Policy

How I Became Aware of the Hebrew Roots Movement

About the Author

Contact JGIG

I hope that you find the resources available under The Gospel and Media tabs to be a source of both growth and refreshment for you in your walk and as you share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and New Life in Him with others.

Sincerely in Christ,
-JGIG

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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 on 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Other articles of interest:

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A New Relationship With Christmas

I saw this post over at 8thday4life’s Weblog and Sondra graciously granted me permission to share her post with you here.  Her perspective as one formerly in the Hebrew Roots Movement is valuable and provides insight that I, as one who merely observes, questions, and comments, cannot give.  I encourage you to spend some time at her blog, a place where she humbly and scripturally communicates about her and her husband’s journey from Law to Grace. 

I know Christmas has come and gone this year, but maybe some of you are discussing such things after being with family and examining why we do what we do – on whichever side of the issue you stand.  

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

– JGIG

 

A New Relationship With Christmas

I recently sat in a living room of Christian women who had met together to learn more about healthy food preparation.  As an icebreaker for the meeting, we were asked to share how we kept things in perspective during the busy holiday season, as well as special traditions our families had.  I realized how this question would have stressed me terribly a few years ago.  I shared that I did not have a great deal of experience yet, (long story) but our main focus was to give Jesus the gifts, to the “least of these” rather than go crazy on junk no one needs, wants, or remembers this time next year.   As the sharing moved around the room, one woman began to explain why they were not going to celebrate Christmas this year.  Her explanation wavered between sheepish embarrassment to dogmatic conviction about “what the Bible says.”  I know that conviction well.  No one knew what to say.  I knew what I wanted to tell her, but I also knew she would have to walk down that road to see what I see now.The Christmas Metaphor

You cannot ignore Christmas, no matter how hard you might try.  And oh did we try, for nearly ten years.  We came under conviction early on in our Christian lives that we were wrong to mix the worship of the one true God with traditions inherited from Paganism.  The desire for our worship to be pure before God sparked our search for the purest form of our faith, seeking to go back all the way to what we believed were our authentic roots.

I don’t blame anyone for coming to this conclusion about Christmas, especially if you do as I did and study out the history of the Church and various holy days.  During the Middle Ages, every month had some type of celebration adopted from various pagan cultures, renaming the days for saints, yet retaining the rituals of superstition and divination.  I did not view this as an honorable history, but rather a church compromising in order to gain allegiance and control of the masses.  In many countries around the world today you see a strange mix of traditional cultures with Catholic mass and rituals, mixing Jesus and Mary with whatever custom they can impress them upon.  Watching documentaries of other cultures, I personally saw no difference in what they were doing and the western worship of Christmas.  (I felt the day was worshiped, not God, and still see this is the largest pitfall of our materialistic culture.)

I became a Christian after spending time in the New Age, so I was especially sensitive to avoid all references or participation in paganism, which at this time in my life, was perfectly right.  This was all I could see in Christmas at the time which is why I don’t judge anyone for choosing to not celebrate this day.  However for me, my pure devotion quickly transformed into a source of superiority and pride.

Each year as the day rolled around we sometimes had a dinner with friends who had the same conviction.  There was literally nothing else to do.  We would eat, play games, and lament how our families just did not  understand.  We personally didn’t mind being with our own families, but some did not respect our unwillingness to exchange gifts, which created awkward situations, so we tended to avoid them.  The irony of our non-Christmas dinner fellowships wasn’t lost on me.  I realized, we were still acknowledging the day, just in a different way.

When confronted with Christmas invitations and questions, I soon tried to not reveal that we didn’t celebrate it because the questions were uncomfortable.  Do you believe in Jesus?  Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?  It took too long to explain.  Even with the challenge it posed, this became an important feature of our unique spiritual identity.  To ignore Christmas is like standing against a tidal wave.

When our eyes opened to the reality of what we have in Christ, and we began to rebuild our spiritual worldview, we had to face once again the question; What do we do with  Christmas?

We did not have a new set of facts.  History cannot be changed.  And this was in fact our conclusion.  Try as we might to pretend it didn’t happen, Christmas has become the shining star of the entire year of holidays for the entire western world, and even in many countries which do not generally embrace Christianity.  As we looked at the issue again, we had to go back to the testing method which originally prompted our discontent with the Hebrew Roots Movement.  Fruit.  The fruit of ignoring Christmas had only caused people to shy away and assume we did not even believe in Jesus at all.  Only atheists and cults deny Christmas.  (here’s your sign…once again.)  Bad fruit there if you are in fact wanting people to know about Him.  Add that to the ways in which we gave the wrong impression about Jesus, which were many.  The only thing we had to show for our pious obedience was sheer boredom and miffed family members.

When we looked at  Christmas again, instead of seeing only paganism repackaged, we saw paganism redeemed, for the spread of the gospel.  Just as Jesus took us who were broken, sinful, idolatrous, rebellious, and prideful – and redeemed us for His glory, we realized He can also do this with a day if it pleases Him to do so.  The evergreen, the pagan symbol for eternal life – was simply the cry of their hearts – the realization of their problem with death, that Jesus came to resolve.  The lights symbolize the true Light of the World, that comes in our darkest, coldest nights.  The day they dedicated to call back the Sun is now celebrated to the Eternal Son.  It seems maybe God intended for things to transpire the way they have.  Another miracle of Christmas is the success of its worldwide popularity, being presented as the day of Jesus Christ’s birth!  If I were a pagan, I would not see this as a victory for my perspective, especially since most people don’t give a second thought to where the traditions came from in the first place.

As I sat in church during what was arguably my first real Christmas – fully embracing Christ, I was so moved by the focus on the amazing miracle and sacrifice of a God who was willing to come and give everything of Himself to His Creation.  How could the Creator submit to a human birth,  just as we are born?  I related to Him in the birth of my own children and wondered what Mary must have thought as she held God in her arms.  Thankfully she could not fully see the days ahead.  I was filled with emotion as I saw illustrations of these tender moments – with full knowledge from our perspective of the enormity of His mission and future suffering.

Did He command me to remember His birth?  No.  But part of the beauty of the New Covenant is found in the love offering our life becomes.  In the Old Covenant people brought freewill and thank offerings when they desired to.  I believe Christmas, for a genuine believer, becomes a time to present a thank offering to Jesus for the amazing gift He gave, which only started with His birth.  We cannot stop at the manger.  Our minds are drawn to the cross, and finally a risen Lord, and His ever-present Spirit, the true Spirit of Christmas.

I found it was not possible to ever completely separate myself from this holiday, but I am thankful that I am now in a new relationship with it that blesses me and gives me a chance to bless others in many ways.  I don’t believe there is any other day of the year that provides a better stage to share the truth about Jesus, to find people with their ears and hearts a little more open.  I am sorry for the years I missed that, and for all the frustration we put our families through.  I have also seen how special this day is to those who don’t have the freedom to worship Him openly, and how they have risked their lives to honor their Savior on the day dedicated to His birth.  I would much rather stand with them in their sacrificial love of Christ, than were I stood before, in pride against those who have given all for Him.  What will you do with the day of the Son this year?

Thank you Jesus for being willing to come to our dark world and share in our human suffering and carry our humiliation.  Your love is beyond understanding, beyond anything mortal man in all his vain wisdom ever dared to hope for – a God that would come down and unite Himself with us, in order to save us.  Thank you that You are in us, and we are in You, forever! Maranatha!

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Other Holiday-related Posts:

There are also links to articles from other sources regarding holidays on the Articles Page here at JGIG.

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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.   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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Holy Hebrew!

This article was posted March 3, 2009 at fortheloveoftruth.  Good information and insight.  Thanks to Sheepwrecked at fortheloveoftruth for sharing =o).  This article will also be made available on the Articles Page.   

Guest article – posted with permission from author.

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Holy Hebrew!

Is Hebrew a special Holy language (leshon ha Kodesh) that is special and different than all of the other languages? Some Hebrew roots teachers have stated that Hebrew is a language so Holy, that it is impossible to even curse in it.

Some have also stated that because of its Holiness, it was the language used to create the world, and most assuredly will be the language of Heaven.

 Here is one of the Hebrew roots teachers, who state that Hebrew was the language of creation.

Quote:

Hebrew: Restoring the Pure Language
Brad takes a fascinating journey into the history of Hebrew, the pure language of Adonai (Tz’fanyah 3:9), the language that created all things. Brad proves through the dynamics of the Hebrew language that this heavenly tongue is the Mother Tongue and is being restored in these last days. This series covers the use of gematria, equidistant letter sequencing, and many other fascinating aspects of Hebrew to show that this language is revived today to be the foundation of bringing Adonai’s people back together to serve Him in one consent. Through the restoration of Hebrew, many long-held, erroneous, religious doctrines are being exposed. The true followers of Y’shua are being revealed and unity is being re-established in the latter days. Brad concludes this series with a lesson on how to research and discover the wonderful truths of Adonai contained in the Hebrew text.
(http://www.wildbranch.org/Marketplace/index.htm)

Let’s first take a look at where all the languages originated from, so that we can better understand the origins of the Hebrew language:

Genesis 11
6 And The LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip one to all of them, and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.
7 Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they cannot understand one another’s speech.
8 And the LORD scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.
9 On account of this its name is called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of all the earth there. And the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth.

Hebrew is a language that evolved historically from proto Canaanite/ancient Hebrew, into paleo, middle, and late Hebrew, which finally ended up becoming the Biblical Hebrew (with vowels) that we have today in the Masoretic text. From there modern words were added, which again evolved into the modern Hebrew that is spoken in Israel today.

Because of the history of Hebrew, clearly the Original Ten Declarations were not written in what we consider Hebrew, because of the time frame that they were written. The Ten Declarations were written before the Torah, which is dated approximately 1500-1400 BCE. The language of that time was proto Canaanite which has been established through archaeological finds. Proto Canaanite did evolve into what we know as Hebrew, but other languages also evolved from it as well.

If the Ten Declarations had been written in Hebrew as we know it, Moses and the children of Israel would have not been able to understand what they said as it is a different alefbet, because Hebrew script, which is a derivative of Proto Canaanite, has been only used since the 9th century BCE.

It should be noted that proto Canaanite was used by idol worshipping pagan cultures.

Here is how it developed over time:

If you take a look at Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew, it looks different than today’s Masoretic text (1000 years difference). Hebrew didn’t really develop until 900 BCE. The Torah was written in 1500-1400 BCE.  Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh, and also spoke Akkadian. Moses could read and write proto Canaanite as well, so I am sure he knew what the tablets said.

Also, the difference in writing style and refinement between the oldest Masoretic text known as the Aleppo codex, and the DSS style:

And the Dead Sea Scrolls:

and the Leningrad codex:

Those changes occurred in only 1000 years after Hebrew was established.

Let’s take a quick look at Biblical Hebrew so that we can examine the “Holy” status of it during Biblical times:

Isaiah 6 (written approx700 BCE)
5 Then I said, Woe is me! For I am cut off; for I am a man of unclean lips (H8193), and I live amongst a people of unclean lips (H8193); for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, snatched with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched it on my mouth, and said, See, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is covered.

H8193
שׂפת / שׂפה
śâphâh / śepheth
BDB Definition:
1) lip, language, speech, shore, bank, brink, brim, side, edge, border, binding

1a) lip (as body part)
1b) language
1c) edge, shore, bank (of cup, sea, river, etc)

Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from H5595 or H8192 through the idea of termination (compare H5490)
Same Word by TWOT Number: 2278a

Here is another example of how the same word lip or language is used:

Zephaniah 3 (approx 620 BCE)
9 For then will I restore to the people a pure (H1305) language (H8193), that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord.

H1305
בּרר
bârar
BDB Definition:
1) to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, cleanse or make bright, test or prove

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to purge, purge out, purify
1a2) to choose, select
1a3) to cleanse, make shining, polish
1a4) to test, prove

1b) (Niphal) to purify oneself
1c) (Piel) to purify
1d) (Hiphil)

1d1) to purify
1d2) to polish arrows

1e) (Hithpael)

1e1) to purify oneself
1e2) to show oneself pure, just, kind

Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 288

Since we know that Isaiah spoke and wrote in Hebrew, and he himself said that he is a man of unclean lips (speech), and since God stated in Zephaniah, which is a book that was written after Isaiah that he will restore a pure language, then it is obvious by the text that Biblical Hebrew is not a pure language currently, nor was it at the time of Isaiah.

Secondly, we need to examine the fact that there are parts of various books in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that are written partially in Aramaic (Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, Genesis).

Aramaic is a language that came out of Canaan, where the people worshipped idols, and was also spoken in pagan Babylon during the captivity.

If Hebrew is a Holy language, then why would God mix the language used by a pagan cultures with Hebrew in the Scriptures? In the book of Daniel, in the portion where the Aramaic begins, it opens like this:

Daniel 2
4 And the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the meaning.

In the passages directly following the opening, we find Aramaic words such as Melecha (H4430), Shamaya (H8065), Elahh (H426), and others throughout the text. The Aramaic continues until to the end of chapter seven, spanning almost five chapters. It should be noted that Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees, and then in obedience he left his pagan culture, and crossed over into the land that God had promised him which became Israel.

Nehemiah 9
7 You are the LORD the God who chose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and appointed his name, Abraham.

Many Hebrew Roots teachers have stated that the only way one can really effectively understand the Old Testament Scriptures, is by learning to read and understand them in the Hebrew language. Currently, English is spoken (sometimes as a second language) by a much larger percentage of the six billion people in the world today, than the five million people world wide who currently speak Hebrew. This works out statistically to be a negligable percentage of the worlds population that speaks and understands Hebrew.

Would God have been so short sighted as to write His word into Hebrew, which for the most part was a dead language until resurrected in the last half of the nineteenth century as modern Hebrew, if it could not be accurately translated and comprehended in other languages such as English? This should be something for us all to consider seriously.

Going forward into the NT, it should be noted that Jesus spoke Aramaic on the cross, and in some other passages found in the New Testament. He most likely conversed in Greek or even possibly Latin with Pilate at His trial. Jesus also spoke in a Hebraic language (some scholars say Aramaic) to Paul on the road to Damascus in the book of Acts.

Paul, who wrote thirteen or fourteen books of the New Testament spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin (Roman citizen), and because he lived in Tarsus at an early age, he possibly would have spoken a local dialect which would probably be related to modern Turkish, and possibly even a few more dialects of other languages that he learned in his travels.

Next, we should examine the use of languages in first century Judea. Listed below (parenthesis) are a few of the possible languages spoken in those regions at that time. Please keep in mind that the list is by no means comprehensive:

Acts 2 (written approx 63 CE)
1 And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one mind in the same place.
2 And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven, as being borne along by a violent wind! And it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed, and it sat on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave ability to them to speak.
5 And Jews were living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation of those under the heaven.
6 But this sound occurring, the multitude came together and were confounded, because they each heard them speaking in his own dialect.
7 And all were amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Behold, are not all these, those speaking, Galileans?
8 And how do we hear each in our own dialect in which we were born,
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites (Persian), and those living in Mesopotamia (Turkish dialect, Syrian, Persian, Akkadian), both Judea (Hebrew,Aramaic,Greek) and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia (Turkish dialect, Greek)
10 both Phrygia and Pamphylia (Turkish dialect,Greek), Egypt (Arabic dialect, Greek), and the regions of Libya over against Cyrene (Latin,Greek,Aramaic), and the temporarily residing Romans (Latin,Greek), both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans (Greek, Aramaic) and Arabians (Arabic dialect, Greek); in our own languages we hear them speaking the great deeds of God?

Would God through His Holy Spirit allow the apostles to speak, in what some Hebrew roots teachers have claimed to be pagan languages, if they truly were according to Gods standards? If this was the case, wouldn’t it have been easier for the apostles to speak only in Hebrew, and then for God to miraculously have all of the different people who spoke the many other languages, be able to understand what the apostles said in the “Holy language” of Hebrew? Instead the apostles spoke and praised God in what some have taught are unclean pagan languages that they claim no self respecting Jew would ever speak.

Some Hebrew Roots teachers have circulated the “myth” that the Jews of that day believed it was better to eat swine flesh than to speak Greek.

I guess the apostles never got the memo on that, nor did the Holy Spirit, or maybe there was a shortage of swine flesh at that time, because as they were being led by the Holy Spirit, they spoke Greek as one of the many languages. This is detailed in the passage recorded in Acts. Keeping in mind, that since Greek was established as the common language, and the language of trade since the rule of Alexander almost four centuries before the time of Christ in 332 BCE, that many others throughout the Roman empire spoke and understood Greek as well.

Various Hebrew Roots teachers have emphatically stated that the New Testament was definitely written in Hebrew or Aramaic, because no self respecting Jew would have written it in Greek. How does that stand up in light of what we have reviewed thus far? Also how could this statement have any validity, seeing as how the first five books of the Hebrew OT was translated into Greek two centuries before Christ by Jewish scribes?

In conclusion, it would appear that those striving to keep Hebrew as the pure, Holy Heavenly language that true followers of the Messiah need to read and speak, need to re-examine their teachings. The Hebrew posturing that is being touted as “truth” falls completely short of historical documentation and factual evidence. One more Hebrew Roots “myth” ………. busted (smile).

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, 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 other testimonies on 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Hebrew Roots Movement – The Perversion of Repentance

Another one of the pillars in the Hebrew Roots Movement and related belief systems/sects, is their re-definition of the word “repent” or “repentance”.  They skew the meaning of repent in order to point the unsuspecting believer toward the Law of Moses and away from the Law of Christ.   If one forgets the transformative power and role of the Holy Spirit, along with the realities of the New Covenant, and fail to take an honest look at the language, one might be deceived and find themselves feeling “commanded” into wearing tzit tzit and and attempting to keep the laws of a covenant no longer in effect.

The following article from Pristine Faith Restoration Society makes many excellent points and observations about the HRM and does a really good job in taking on HRM assertions regarding the language and concepts of the word “repent”.  The author deals specifically with the teaching of Brad Scott, considered to be a “mainstream” teacher in the Hebrew Roots Movement. 

 As with other articles posted here at JGIG, the posting of an article does not mean that I agree with or endorse everything from a given website, but find the core issues of the faith to be intact and the value of an article to outweigh any “secondary issue” disagreements I may have with a given source.   This article will also be posted at the Articles Page here at JGIG.

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

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The Perversion of Repentance
by Tim Warner

Criterion for Understanding the New Testament
According to many teachers in the Hebrew Roots movement, the Gentile mind is not equipped to properly comprehend Scripture. They draw a distinction between “Gentile thinking” and “Jewish thinking.” This distinction is alleged to be more than merely having different presuppositions, but rather a completely different thought process and basis for understanding. Consequently, Gentiles need a thorough education in “Jewish thinking” in order to understand the New Testament. This includes instruction in the Hebrew language. A converted Gentile cannot normally read the Old and New Testaments and arrive at a proper understanding without a Jewish teacher. Having been taught “at the feet” of some Jewish scholar or rabbi is the claimed credential of several prominent “teachers” of the Hebrew Roots movement.  [See “Doublemindedness in the Hebrew Roots Movement – The Use of Kabbalah and Gemetria” for a better understanding of just what being taught “at the feet” of some Jewish scholar or rabbi means.]

Historically, Christians have always believed that the Old Testament is sufficient background material for the New Testament. Paul distinguished between those who are able to comprehend and those who are not. The criterion he gave has nothing to do with the Hebrew language or “Jewish thinking.”

11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. (1 Cor. 2:11-15 NKJV)

According to Paul, even “Jewish scholars” do not understand the things of God unless they have received the Spirit of God. Jesus Himself gave us a pretty good picture of the unconverted “Jewish Scholar” in Matthew 23. It is therefore critical that modern Hebrew Roots teachers fully disclose to their hearers the names of the “Jewish Scholars” under whose instruction they have learned. And those “scholars” should be carefully scrutinized to see whether they are true believers.

The New Testament was Primarily Written to Gentile Minds
With the exception of Matthew, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and James, the New Testament was written by the Apostles for Gentile minds. The New Testament contains almost no explanatory background information about Jewish thinking. The Apostles frequently quoted the Old Testament, without comment, as supporting material to the particular point they were making. References to Old Testament events were frequently given as illustrations and moral lessons in the language of the Greeks. More often than not, they quoted the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Greek speaking reader was expected to be familiar with the Septuagint, and this was deemed by the Apostles to be sufficient for understanding their own writings in the New Testament. The Apostles frequently quoted from the Greek translation of the Old Testament with which their readers were familiar. There was no appeal made by the Apostles to extra biblical Jewish sources for explanatory information. One wonders why modern Gentile Christians need such sources when the Apostles obviously did not think it beneficial for their Gentile audiences in the first century who knew little about Jewish thinking. In fact, Jesus Himself was antagonistic to such sources, claiming they perverted the Word of God (Matt. 15:2-14). The Jewish scholarly commentaries were characterized by Jesus as “the blind leading the blind” (v. 14).

Why would modern Christians, who have received the “Spirit of Truth,” want to be taught by “the Blind?” Yet, such is now the case in this movement.

Some might contend that in the context of the early Church, there was a great deal of oral teaching by the Jewish Apostles, and the Epistles were merely supplementary material. That is true in some cases. Paul spent three years in Ephesus before writing his epistle to this church. However, the major theological treatise on the Law (Romans) was written by Paul to a local church no Apostle had yet visited. His second Epistle on the Law and grace, Galatians, was written to the churches (plural) of Galatia, of which we have no direct record of his spending time in discipleship. Yet, Paul expected that the Greek Old Testament (LXX) would be adequate background material for the Gentile mind to comprehend his teaching on the covenants, the Law, and grace.

Is “Repentance” Turning Back to Moses?
In his website article series on “repentance,” Brad Scott made his real intentions clear in the closing paragraph of part I.

“The foundation of repentance is the return to where you came from. The root of repentance is to go back to something. Adam came from the dust, and that is where he will teshuvah, or return to. The root of repentance is to go back to something. It is what we are to go back to, that is critical.”1 [Bold mine]

Scott is intent on incorporating into the term “repentance” the idea of returning to a former condition. And as he stated in the above quote, the thing to which one is to return is the critical factor. In Scott’s theology, this is a return to God’s laws revealed through Moses, the ultimate destination for his followers. He made this point crystal clear.

“The very first words that we hear from Yochanan the immerser (John the Baptizer) is REPENT! Who was he speaking these words to? the Nations? Of course not. The nations would not have a clue as to what to go back to! He speaks this word to the local Jewish leadership. Yochanan is pleading in behalf of Yahshua for YHVH’s covenant people to go back to the covenant. Yahshua’s first words to the Jewish leaders is to REPENT! (Mattityahu 4:17). The two main religious systems in Judaism, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, had strayed away from the Word of YHVH. He certainly knew this in advance. Go Back! YHVH says. The common myth that Judaism was a law-keeping religion that YHVH came to denounce and change is a lie. Most of the Jewish leaders of that time were big time law breakers.”2

Was Jesus Simply Moses’ Revival Preacher or The New Lawgiver?
When Jesus and John the Baptist called Israel to “repentance,” Scott wants you to believe that he was calling them back to Moses. Hence, Scott makes John and Jesus missionaries and preachers of Moses by manipulating the word “repentance,” as we shall prove shortly. The Scripture, however, does not portray Jesus as Moses’ revival preacher, but as the new Lawgiver, proclaiming a new Law far superior to that of Moses. Jesus brought the “Law of Christ,” a higher Law, which superseded the Law of Moses. It did not supplement the Law of Moses. Consequently, the “household of Christ,” according to Scripture, is not the former “household of Moses,” but a completely new “household.”

1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,  6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.  (Hebrews 3:1-6 NKJV)

Paul drew a clear distinction between the “house of Moses” and the “house of Christ.” Keep in mind that Paul wrote this to Jewish believers, implying that they were no longer of the “household of Moses” after joining the “household of Christ.” A few chapters later, the Apostle expands on this distinction.

1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”   6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: [from Jer. 31:31-34]

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—  

9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 

11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:1-13 NKJV)

The Meaning of “Repentance”
The Greek word translated “repent” in the NT is “metanoew” (me-ta-nah-eh-O), Strong’s #3340. As with a multitude of Greek verbs, it consists of a verb prefixed with a preposition. “Meta” (preposition) means “after.” And “noiew” means “understand” or “comprehend.” Hence, the basic sense of “metanoew” is “after-thought.” In modern English idiom we would say, “after second thought.” It indicates a change of mind after further contemplation. All Greek lexicons define this word as a “change of mind.” None suggest, as does Scott, that this change of mind is a return to a former place, condition, or state. In fact, it is usually a turning AWAY from a former way of thinking that is being stressed. We will list below a couple of examples of lexical definitions.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary:
Repentance
, There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance.
(1.) The verb metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Mat 27:3).
(2.) Metanoeo [metanoew], meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge.
(3.) This verb [metanoew], with the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised. 3

Unger’s Bible Dictionary
REPENTANCE, a “change” of mind. In the theological and ethical sense a fundamental and thorough change in the hearts of men from sin and toward God. 4

The most comprehensive study of the koine Greek language from ancient Greek writings was done by the German scholar, Gerhard Kittle. His ten volume Greek lexicon (TDNT) far exceeds all other lexicons. While most Greek lexicons trace Greek word usage in the NT and the LXX, Kittle adds massive evidence from thousands of secular Greek manuscripts written in both classical and koine Greek of the period. There is no better source for understanding the “common” meanings of Greek words in every day life of the first century. According to Kittle’s TDNT, “metanoew” (repent) was used in secular Greek literature of the period to mean, “change one’s mind,” “adopt another view,” or “change one’s feelings.” He gives many examples of these in Greek literature. Kittle then adds, “…if the change of mind derives from recognition that the earlier view was foolish, improper or evil, there arises the sense ‘to regret,’ ‘to feel remorse’.” He cites many examples of this as well.5 In no case does Kittle suggest the idea of returning to a former place, state, or condition, as part of the Greek word “repent” in common Greek usage. Brad Scott is simply wrong.

In the face of massive contrary linguistic evidence, Scott alleges that Christianity has redefined “repentance” to suite its own ends. Yet, as we shall see, it is Scott who has done precisely what he alleges of Gentile Christians – twist the meaning to suite his own purpose.

Scott’s Manipulation of “Repentance”
Scott completely ignores the etymology of “metanoew” and all the lexical evidence, all the while pretending to offer a more nuanced definition which he claims is derived from the Hebrew equivalent. He claims that Jesus, John, and their hearers would have held his view of “repentance” because of their Hebrew background and alleged equivalent Hebrew term with which they would have been intimately familiar.

“When Yahshua and Yochanan (John the baptizer) said to the P’rushim (Pharisees), ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ what did they mean by repent? Do you really believe the meaning of repent in the English or the Greek is what they meant? Do you believe that 23,214 verses of teaching in the Tenach (Old Testament) about this word is irrelevant?”6

Scott gives the impression, in the above quote, that there are over twenty-three thousand verses in the Old Testament that contain teaching on the word “repent,” and that all modern lexicons ignore this “teaching.” The fact is, there is only a handful of Old Testament verses that use the verb “repent,” or its noun form “repentance,” and not one of them supports Scott’s definition.

Scott’s “Shell Game” Exposed
Brad Scott plays a “shell game” with the Hebrew words. He declares by fiat that the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word “metanoew” (repent) is the Hebrew word, “shoov” (Strong’s #7725). He offers not one shred of linguistic or historical evidence in support of this claim, which is THE fundamental premise of his entire series of articles on repentance.

While it is true that “shoov” (or “shoob”) does mean “return” in many cases, it does not always. Strong’s Hebrew lexicon states this very clearly.

7725  שׁוּב      shûb  shoob  A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again:”7 [emphasis mine]

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia adds that “shoov” can either mean “return” or “turn away,” the latter having nothing to do with returning to a former place or state.8 Numerous examples of this meaning can be found, (Gen. 27:44-45 for example). 

Even IF “shoov” (shoob) was the Hebrew equivalent for the Greek “metanoew” (repent), which it is not, it would not prove Scott’s point. Even the Hebrew word “shoov” is used in Old Testament contexts where the idea of returning back to a former state, place, or condition is clearly not intended, as Strong’s lexicon and the ISBE point out. Consequently, the meaning Scott seeks to squeeze out of this word is NOT always essential to its basic meaning, and therefore not necessarily the sense even if it was the exact equivalent for the Greek word for “repent” in the New Testament. Had Scott been successful in establishing equivalence between the Hebrew, “shoov,” and the Greek “metanoew,” the most he would have accomplished would be to establish a possibility, but not a necessity. In other words, had Jesus and John the Baptist used the Hebrew word “shoov” instead of the Greek “metanoew” they might have meant “turn away” rather than “turn back” (to Moses) as Scott insists.

Earlier I used the term “shell game” to describe what Scott has done. The “shell game” is a classic swindle in which slight of hand is used to fool the target of the con. And slight of hand is what Scott has apparently done here. The way to determine equivalence between words of different languages is to examine ancient translations from one language to the other. There are two such sources for determining equivalence between Old Testament Hebrew words and New Testament Greek words. They are the Septuagint (LXX), and the Apostles’ quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament. It is a simple thing to search the Septuagint (LXX) to verify Hebrew equivalents for Greek terms. There are no New Testament Apostolic quotes of the Old Testament that use the word “repent.” We are left with the Septuagint as our source.

One cannot accuse the LXX translators of “Gentile thinking” or any bias against Judaism, since they were themselves Jewish scholars living shortly before the appearance of Jesus Christ. They were far more fluent in the Hebrew of the Torah and ancient Greek than any modern Hebrew Roots teacher, including Brad Scott. They translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek, choosing the best Greek equivalents for the Hebrew words of the Old Testament. If Scott were correct in his claim that John and Jesus had the Jewish idea of “return” contained in the word “shoov” when they spoke of “repentance” in the Gospels, we would expect the LXX translators to render the Hebrew word “shoov” as “metanoew” (repent) in their Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. However, not once did those seventy Jewish scholars translate “shoov” as “metanoew” in their Greek translation of the Old Testament! So, not only does Scott’s view flow counter to all modern linguistic scholars, but also the Jewish scholars of the Septuagint!

The Jewish translators of the Septuagint used the Greek word “metanoew” (repent) in their translation. But, when it appears, it translates the Hebrew word, “nacham” (Strong’s #5162), not “shoov.” They used “metanoew” sixteen times in their Greek translation in the following verses: 1 Sam. 15:29, Prov. 20:25, Prov. 24:32, Jer. 4:28, Jer. 8:6, Jer. 18:8,10, Jer. 31:19 (38:19 in LXX), Joel 2:13,14, Am. 7:3,6, Jon. 3:9,10, Jon. 4:2, Zech. 8:14.

In each of these verses, “metanoew” translates the Hebrew word “nacham” (#5162), except in Prov. 20:25 & Prov. 24:32. And in neither of these exceptions do we find the Hebrew word “shoov.” In the former it translates a Hebrew term that means to “inquire,” and in the latter it translates two Hebrew words meaning to “make to understand.”

So, what is the meaning of the Hebrew word “nacham” which the LXX translators rendered as “metanoew?” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says that nacham “implies difficulty in breathing, hence, ‘to pant,’ ‘to sigh,’ ‘to groan’ … Naturally it came to signify ‘to lament’ or ‘to grieve,’ and when the emotion was produced by the desire of good for others, it merged into compassion and sympathy, and when incited by a consideration of one’s own character and deeds it means ‘to rue,’ ‘to repent’.”9 In no case does “nacham” mean to return to a previous place, state, or condition.

Furthermore, there are a few verses in the Hebrew Bible where both Hebrew words “shoov” and “nacham” appear together in the same sentence, but are mutually exclusive! In other words, the context clearly shows that they are NOT the same thing, but were being contrasted with each other, or their diverse meanings were used to compliment each other. For example, Jer. 31:19 says this: “Surely after that I was turned (shoov) I repented (nacham).” That these two words are contrasted in this way proves their meanings are not the same. If “shoov” means “repent,” as Scott claims, then Jeremiah said, “After I repented I repented,” a rather nonsensical statement! The meaning is precisely as the NKJV renders it, “Surely after that I was turned (changed course), I repented (regretted the former course).”

In Jer. 4:28, the Lord made a similar contrasting statement using both terms. “I have purposed it, and will not repent (nacham), neither will I turn back (shoov) from it.” The word “neither” in the above sentence indicates contrasting ideas, NOT a restatement of the same idea. Consequently, “shoov” (translated “return”) and “nacham” (translated “repent”) do NOT have the same meaning. The former means to “retreat” or “return” and the later “to change the mind” or “regret.”

Joel 2:14 uses both terms as well. “Who knoweth if He will return (shoov) and repent (nacham) and leave a blessing behind Him.” Here the two terms have a cumulative effect, hoping that God will do two distinct things: return to His favor for Israel and also change His mind (or regret) regarding His intent to judge Israel.

We have at least two hard pieces of evidence that “shoov” and “nacham” do not have the same meaning. First, both terms are used in the same sentences in contrast to each other. Second, the LXX translators frequently rendered “nacham” as “metanoew,” but never rendered  “shoov” as “metanoew.” They did not view “shoov” and “metanoew” as equivalent terms.

If the LXX translators, who knew both Hebrew and Greek, did not see “shoov” and “nacham” as equivalent, or more importantly, did not see “shoov” and “metanoew” as equivalent, why would we suppose that Jesus and John the Baptist did, or their hearers?

More importantly, why should we think Brad Scott knows more about linguistics than the Jewish translators of the LXX and authors of all Greek lexicons? If the LXX translators did not think “metanoew” meant “to return to where you came from,” neither should you. Scott has played fast and loose with the Hebrew words in order to lead you where he wants you to go, back to the Law of Moses.

Should Gentile Pagans “Return” to Where They Came From?
If “repent” (metanoew) in the Gospels means “to return to where you came from,” then the use of the same word in evangelizing Gentiles would mean they should return to their pagan roots, their “wild olive tree!” Scott does not seem to notice this problem. While arguing that “repent” in the Gospels requires his definition, he wrote the following;

“The very first words that we hear from Yochanan the immerser (John the Baptizer) is REPENT! Who was he speaking these words to? the Nations? Of course not. The nations would not have a clue as to what to go back to!”10

Yet, Paul encouraged the Gentiles to “repent” as part of his evangelism.

21 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. (Acts 26:19-20)

Here, Scott’s definition of “return to where you came from” simply will not work in the context. “Works befitting repentance” in Scott’s bogus lexicon would be offering sacrifices to Zeus or the goddess Dianna! The same problem appears in the other passages that speak of Gentile “repentance,” none of which suggest “return to where you came from.” (Acts 17:30, Acts 26:20), and the noun form “repentance” (Luke 24:47, Acts 11:18, 2 Cor. 7:10, 2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus told the disciples, when sending them out to the Gentiles with the Great Commission, “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). How does Brad Scott suppose these Gentiles would “have a clue as to what to go back to?”

Other Greek Words Mean “Return” or “Turn Back”
There are other common Greek words that mean “return back” and “return again.” First, “upostrefw” (hupo-strepho  Strong’s #5290) comes from the preposition “hupo” (under or back) and “strepho” (to turn). Examples can be found in Luke 1:56, Luke 2:20,43,45, Luke 4:1,14). Second, “anastrefw” means “return again,” from the preposition “ana” (again) and “strepho” (to turn). This latter term is probably the closest to the Hebrew “shoov” as Scott defines it. Yet, it is nowhere used in the New Testament in the sense Scott promotes, a turning back to the Law of Moses. In fact, it is never used in an evangelistic sense in the New Testament.

What is painfully obvious from Scott’s treatment of “repentance” is that he is manipulating the evidence to suite his purposes. His work is unscholarly, manipulative, and malicious, in my humble opinion.

The “Judaizers” (neo-Galatians) are Back
A distinction needs to be made between two classes of modern “Law keepers” – those who practice “Law keeping” as a preference but not a necessity (Messianics who are Jewish by birth), and those who claim or imply that it is a salvation issue and binding on Gentiles. Brad Scott clearly falls into this latter category, what is commonly referred to as a “Judaizer.” Scott is proclaiming the same heresy Paul called “another gospel.” Here it is in Brad Scott’s  own words.

“I am going to, very bluntly, tell you that without a scriptural understanding of repentance, you are NOT redeemed or reconciled back to YHVH. To put it more perfectly, as Sha’ul would say, you are not saved.”11

By making his definition of “repentance” synonymous with a “return” to keeping the Law of Moses, Scott is essentially saying that observance of the Law of Moses is necessary to salvation.

Furthermore, he places all Christians who are not “Torah observant” within the category of the “workers of iniquity” to whom Jesus promised to answer, “depart from Me, I never knew you.” He equates this with the “mystery of iniquity” which gives birth to the Antichrist. Here it is in Brad Scott’s own words.

“If you are curious to know who the workers of iniquity are in Mattityahu 7:23, you can find them here. They are those who are TORAHLESS, lawless ones. This is the translation of the King James English, “workers of iniquity”. It is also a description of their leader, whether they know it or not, in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. He is the mystery of iniquity that already works and is called the wicked one or the lawless one.”12

Scott’s claim that his perverted “repentance” (return to the Law of Moses) is essential to salvation puts him and his movement in the same camp as the ancient Judaizers who “troubled” and “unsettled” the Gentile believers. Paul called that message “another gospel” and told the Galatians that those who embraced it were “estranged from Christ” and “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

We would do well to keep in mind the letter to the Gentiles, approved by all the Apostles and elders of the Jerusalem congregation.

“The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings,

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law’ — to whom we gave no such commandment — it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:23-24).

NOTES:

1. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part I; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson16.html; Wild Branch Ministries
2. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part II; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson17.html
3. Easton’s Bible Dictionary, article on “Repentance” (electronic version)
4. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, article on “Repentance” (electronic version)
5. Kittle; TDNT, Vol. IV, pp. 976-977
6. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part I; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson16.html. Strong, Hebrew Lexicon of Old Testament Words, #7725 (electronic version)
8. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, article on “Repentance” (electronic version)
9. ibid
10. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part II; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson17.html
11. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part I; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson16.html. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part III;
12. Scott, Brad; Repentance Part III; http://www.wildbranch.org/Archive/lesson18.html

 © Tim Warner, September 2007

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Refer also to the following post, which contains a word study on the word, ‘repent’, that you may find helpful: 

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.   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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They Changed the Sabbath to Sunday

While there was just an article on JGIG regarding whether or not the Sabbath is still mandated for Christians today, this article is also excellent, bringing out some of the more historical issues in question, as well as some additional Scriptural/doctrinal issues.  This article will be linked to on the Articles Page here at JGIG for future reference.  The other article recently posted regarding the Sabbath can be found HERE, as well as at the Articles page.
-JGIG

From Let Us Reason Ministries (used as per copyright rules as stated at end of article):

let-us-reason1

THEY CHANGED THE SABBATH TO SUNDAY

There is no point of greater distinction between the reign of law and of grace then the observance of the seventh day and the first day of the week. Each represent a different dispensation and how God related to man.

There are many Sabbatarian groups that trace this event to Constantine in 321 A.D. and the council of Laodicea held in 364 A.D. In changing the Sabbath day of worship to Sunday. In the 4th cent. Sunday was declared to be the day of rest and worship. This does not mean Constantine changed the Sabbath day to Sunday, the Sabbath is still Saturday.

On the contrary there is much historical evidence to show Sunday worship was a universal practice of all the church’s outside the land of Israel by the beginning of the 2nd century. While there was a dispute between the Roman Catholic and eastern church hundreds of years later, on which day to worship there certainly was a repulsion to keep anything that was related to Judaism. While there may be a grain of truth in some of the arguments their is much exaggeration and even more extremism in changing the historical facts. Some go as far as to say Sunday is the day of the sun (worship ) so that is what Christians are doing they are practicing paganism. That early Christianity was mixed with pagan practices that led to the adoption of Sunday worship. This kind of rhetoric appeals to ignorance. Those who motivate others with guilt say you must worship on Saturday know this word is named after the Roman god Saturn. Like every day of the week it has a reference to a pagan name since many of these words come from that time period. The point is we don’t worship the day or the name of that day which would be idolatry. We worship the maker of that day and every day. God made all the days of the week and does not expect to be worshipped on only one day.

Philip Schaff a noted historian who is honest with history writes in his book the history of the Christian church cites Ignatius, Barnabus and Justin Martyr as observing the first day of the week. History includes Dionysius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian of Africa and numerous others attesting to Sunday as the day of worship from the beginning of the church.

Schaff writes in the Schaff- Herzog Encyclopedia of religious knowledge 1891 Ed., vol.4 Article on Sunday. “Sunday… was adopted by the early Christians as a day of worship.. . Sunday was emphatically the weekly feast of the resurrection of Christ, as the Jewish Sabbath was the feast of creation. It was called the Lords day, and upon it the primitive church assembled to break bread. No regulations for its observance are laid down in the new testament nor, indeed, is its observance even enjoined. Yet Christian feeling led to the universal adoption of the day, in imitation of the apostolic precedence. In the second century its observance was universal.” In other words this wasn’t to replace the Sabbath but held as a whole new day for a new dispensation

Ignatius 110 A.D. wrote in his epistle to the Magnesians 9… “If they who were concerned in old things, arrived at a newness of hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living according to the Lord’s day, by which our life sprung from him and by his death (whom certain persons deny)…we have been made his disciples, let us live according to Christianity.”

Barnabas 120A..D. “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day, also, on which Jesus rose again from the dead”

Justin Martyr 140 A..D. “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness, made the world; and Jesus Christ our savior , on the same day rose from the dead.”

Didache 80-90 A.D. “And on the day of our lords resurrection, which is the Lord’s day meet more diligently.”

We do not make our doctrine from history; all these quotes which are few in comparison to numerous others available. They show what took place in history. These are quotes from those who kept the canon of scripture, built churches and defended the faith among the pagans. There is too much evidence on Sunday worship and none for Sabbath keeping except to evangelize the Jews. The change of day was not instituted by the pope centuries after the apostles nor was it made to replace the Sabbath day no matter what a certain church claims.

Catholic Encyclopedia states “Sunday was the first day of the week according to the Jewish method of reckoning, but for Christians it began to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath in Apostolic times as the day set apart for the public and solemn worship of God.” 

It is claimed by Sabbatarians that Constantine’s edict was the institution of change from the Sabbath to Sunday as  the day of worship. What nonsense.  Pliny was governor of Bithynia, in Asia Minor from AD 106-108. He wrote to Trajan the emperor concerning the Christians in 107 AD. “They were wont to meet together, on a stated day before it was light, and sing among themselves alternately a hymn to Christ as God….When these things were performed, it was their custom to separate and then to come together again to a meal which they ate in common without any disorder.” 

History agrees with this. The day the early church broke bread was Sunday according to the Bible. “Upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7).

  Ireneaus in 155-202 A.D. wrote: “The Mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection may not be celebrated on any other day than the Lord’s Day, and on this alone should we observe the breaking off of the Paschal Feast.” We all know he resurrected the day after the Sabbath, the feats of first fruits which establishes what the early church calls the LORD’S day. All these quotes prove the Church held Sunday as a significant day long before any edict in the 300’s. What Sabbatarians want to do is ignore historical fact and make up a fantasy to promote their own legalistic view of what a Christian can and cannot do.

THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK

What we need to do is look at what transpired on the first day of the week and then look at the scriptural evidence for the assembly on the first day in the New Testament.

1. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week after the Sabbath (John 20:1). He was the first fruit until eternal life others were also raised Mt.27:53. The resurrection is the capstone of our faith and the proving of the new covenant. He was raised for our justification..

2. Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples on that first day of the week (John 20:19).If he appeared on the 7th day do you think the Sabbatarians would use this to promote the Sabbath ?

3. Jesus waited one week, and on the next first day of the week appeared to the eleven disciples (John 20:26).

4. The promised coming of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the first day of the week, the day of Pentecost he was sent, (Pentecost by law came on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:16).

5. On the first day of the week the first gospel sermon  preached by an apostle on the death and resurrection of Jesus was by Peter (Acts 2:14).

6. On that first day of the week the three thousand converts were united into the   New Testament covenant separating from Judaism (Acts 2:41). While at the first Pentecost 3,000 were slain on this day God reversed it and instead they were given eternal life. The law kills the new covenant gives life.

7. On that same first day of the week the rite of Christian baptism into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was administered for the first time (Acts 2:41).

8. At Troas Paul preached to the assembled Christians on the first day of the week The only example of the Lord’s supper being practiced on Sunday (Acts 20:6, 7). So did the churches of Galatia and Corinth.

9. Paul instructed the Christians at Corinth to make contributions on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:2).Why did Paul specifically give orders to the church for this to be done on the “first day of the week.”  Offerings are a part of worship itself. Offerings are a part of our worship and since offerings took place on the first day of the week, wouldn’t it make sense that worship also took place on the same day of the week. This is only day in the New Testament that commands Christians to give, they would have to be gathered to do so.

If Sunday was not an allowable day to worship or teach on then none of this would have occurred.

There is a biblical numerology in which 7 is the number of completion (of rest) the week is completed in 7 days. The number 8 is a symbol of new beginnings. Both days were used as In Ex.12. given at the same time.

No one ever changed the Sabbath day to SUNDAY

The Sabbath commemorated a finished creation with rest. The first day commemorates a finished redemption and a new work.

The Sabbath commemorates Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery and God resting on the 7th day. The first day commemorates Christ’s resurrection, victory over death and eternal punishment . It gives hope that all who believe will also be resurrected from the dead.

The Sabbath is a day of rest and quiet. The first day is a day of worship and praise. Sabbath means rest, not Saturday! There were other Sabbaths given to Israel on other days. The Sabbath was made for man to rest, God was telling Israel to keep the rest, their focus was not a day.

Christians met in houses for their assemblies Philemon 2, Romans 16:5, Col.4:15. According to the Sabbatarian’s they were to assemble together in the temple so they are breaking the Sabbath not keeping it.

The New Testament, principle is given in Heb.10:24-25: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” If on does not want to assemble with the rest of the believers during a service certainly reveals a spiritual anemia. The day of the week to assemble is of the church’s choice whether it be Monday, Wednesday or Saturday. Many churches today have Saturday services as well as Sunday. The New Testament has no legislation for which day we are to assemble. History shows the early church chose Sunday because of its significance, not because they hated the Sabbath. Almost all the church the first 10 years were Jews. They certainly knew the difference. How can a believing church meet in an unbelieving Synagogue. To meet together in worship is beneficial to oneself and others. It stirs up others to hear what God is doing in each others life. This verse of Hebrews tells us to encourage each other by being present.

1 Cor. 16:1-2: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come”. To give has always been a means of worship. Paul sets the rule telling them as they gather together to take up an offering. This is not a tithe as in the O T. but a principle of as the Lord has prospered you, ( giving cheerfully not out of obligation) there is an absence of legalism that one would find under the law. Notice he says that he has instructed the churches in Galatia the same as the Corinthians. This certainly indicates this was not an isolated command but a common practice during even the apostles time to gather on Sunday.

Acts 20:7: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” When to come together was an option of choice not obligation. Obviously this was decided upon and they were already carrying it out by the apostles. To break bread consisted of what is called a love feast, eating a meal and taking communion which is to be done in an assembly. Paul was speaking til midnight. The Jewish first day began on sundown Saturday so this took place Saturday night Through the first day, after the Sabbath.

The truth is 9 of the commandments Ex.20:3-4 are repeated and incorporated in the New Testament epistles but the 4th one is not, why?

The 1st and 2nd commandment- which prohibit the worship of other Gods (50 times) and idols are repeated (12 times) Acts 15:29, 17:16: Rom.1:25; 1 Cor.6:9-10, 10:14: 1 Jn.5:21: Rev.21:8, 22:15.

The 3rd commandment of reverencing his name not to take it in vain (4 times ) Ex.20:7 is also repeated in the New Testament  Mt.5:33;  James 5:12.

The 4th commandment- ? Where do the apostles teach to keep the Sabbath? Its missing even for the Gentiles who had no concept of the Jewish laws would need to be instructed.

The 5th commandment- to respect your parents is also repeated (6 times) Mt.15:4-9: Eph.6:1-3 and Rom.13:1-7.

The 6th commandment- of forbidding murder Ex.20:13 is in the New Testament (4 times). Rom.13:9; Mt.19:18 and the true intent is explained in Mt.5:21-22

The 7th commandment- prohibiting adultery and any sexual sin Ex.20:14 is also found ( 12 times) in Acts.15:20; Rom.2:22, 13:13: 1 Cor.5:11, 6:9, 13,15, 18: 10:8: Eph.5:3,11-12.

The 8th commandment- forbids one to be dishonest, stealing,Ex.20:15 is found in the New Testament (6 times) Rom. 2:21 Eph. 4:28: 1Thess.4:6: Jms.5:4; Mk.10:19; Lk.18:20.

The 9th commandment- condemning a false witness, to lie Ex.20:16 is found in the New Testament (4 times) Mt.15:19,19:18; Lk.3:14 and 1 Tim.1:9-10.

The 10th commandment- tells us not to covet Ex.20:17 is repeated (9 times) in Mk.7:21-23; Lk.12:15,33-34; Rom.1:29, 13:9 1 Cor.5:11; 6:10; Eph.5:3.

Isn’t it amazing the one law that the legalists use to bully everyone around to show their disobedience is not found specifically in the New Testament? Why? Not because its practice was self evident as some claim! Its just as self evident not to murder. This was law before the 10 commandments but it is repeated often. The answer is in the fact the Sabbath is not suppose to be there! Not once in the New Testament is breaking the Sabbath called a sin or do we find anyone punished for it. Its ceremonial not moral because the very things forbidden for that day are allowed on all others , this would not be so if it was a moral law.

While Sabbatarian’s state “there is no command to worship on Sunday” They can’t produce a single command that the Church was to assemble on the Sabbath for worship? If there is one in the New Testament epistles (the teachings for the Church), please bring it to our attention and we will do it. Instead we find the very opposite. 

Contrasting the Sabbath day in the Old Testament covenant

Neither Jesus nor the apostles teach it necessary for the believer to keep the Sabbath. There is no command after the death and resurrection for the Church to keep the Sabbath as an obligation to Christ nor is it a salvation issue (actually Galatians makes it a gospel issue- if one adds it, it destroys the gospel of grace.) The epistles were mostly corrective letters reinforcing what was taught in person by the apostles and to add further revelation to what was being taught. There was absolutely no warning against Sunday worship that would be construed as pagan worship. In fact we find it is the very opposite, they were given freedom where they did not have before.

At the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 dealing with the teaching of the Judaizer’s and how the Gentiles are to practice their Christianity it does not mention the Sabbath. The very law (circumcision) that is a requirement in the Abrahamic covenant and a condition in the Mosaic is rejected in the New Covenant. Under the Abrahamic covenant it was for Jews only. Under the Mosaic it was mandatory for the Jews and the gentile proselytes showing their submission to the law (Lev.12:3). Paul states “for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to the whole law. (Gal.5:3) This can be substituted with any part of the Mosaic law, diet, clothing and the Sabbath. The Hebrew epistles such as James and Hebrews written to dispersed Israel never refer to continue keeping the Sabbath day because even Jewish believers were not obligated.

“Grace that had been behind the law came to light through Jesus Christ so that it could be realized.” (Arthur Pink)

D.N. Canright who left the 7th day Church in 1914  had this to say: For myself, I feel profoundly impressed that the Sabbatarian theory is built all the way through upon a narrow, forced, and unnatural interpretation of the Bible, one that cannot stand the test of fair criticism. The more I study it the more apparent these facts become to me. I am devoutly thankful to God that he has led me out of that error.

The New Testament Church clearly saw Sunday not as the substitute and replacement for the Jewish Sabbath. Sunday was not seen as a modification or as a new Sabbath, but as a day that stood on its own merits having its own meaning. The church was given the resurrection and used this day to proclaim the very capstone of our faith. What some have done is use fear and devious manipulation to prove one is under the wrath of God by simply worshipping on a day apart from the Covenant given to Moses.

There is no Scripture in the New Testament which states that God will punish Sabbath breakers. There are in the New Testament statements for those who practice idolatry, thieves, liars, murderers,  the covetous, the sexually immoral will not enter the kingdom of God and be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur (1Cor.6:9,10; Eph.5:5-7;  Rev. 21:8). These were included in the 10 commandments for Israel but notice the Sabbath is missing. Because it was not in the moral law category but a ceremonial one.

Acts 13:38-39: “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” The Sabbath was part of the law of Moses.

Gal.4:10-11: “You observe days and months, and times, and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” To observe days the months years the holy days is a sign of weakness and immaturity. The DAYS are the Sabbaths and Holy days. Months are the new moon festival, seasons are the festivals of Lev.23, years are the sabbatical years and the year of jubilee. Paul did not want the New Testament believer to become entangled in bondage again. We are free to live toward Him every day, we don’t rest on one day or another but rest spiritually in Him.  [Do not] condemn those who do not practice the days, food codes and the rest of the law that has clearly been removed from the New Covenant.

© 2008 No portion of this site is to be copied or used unless kept in its original format- the way it appears. Articles can be reproduced in portions for ones personal use. Any other use is to have the permission of  Let Us Reason Ministries first. Thank You.

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Hebrew Roots Movement – New Covenant or “Renewed” Covenant?

Folks in the Hebrew Roots Movement will tell us that God, in Christ, instituted a renewal of the Old Covenant instead of giving us a completely New Covenant.  They cite the Hebrew language to support their position, using something known as the ‘Root Word Fallacy’.

Following are two entries from the “Glossary M-Z” page, examining the concept of a New vs. a Renewed Covenant, followed by excellent word studies from two readers,  SheepWrecked (who also has a testimony here at JGIG), and Kimberly from Maine, who have both done a great job examining the language issues surrounding whether or not the Covenant in Christ is New or Renewed.  

Sheep’s and Kimberly’s examinations of the New/Renewed issue are thorough, using step by step progressions.  Each one comes to their conclusion using two different methods of study.  This page will also be linked to on the Articles” page located in the Articles tab located at the top of this site. 

I know that language studies can be tedious (like just shoot me now tedious, though some really like language study), but I think if you stick with the following, you’ll see how clearly God has communicated the New Covenant to us. 

Special thanks to SheepWrecked at For The Love of Truth  and Kimberly from Maine for the language analysis portions of the following:

New Covenant or “Renewed” Covenant?

New Covenant – This, from a post here at JGIG, “Law Keepers – Part 4 – Thoughts on the New Covenant” :

At the Last Supper Jesus held up the bread and the wine and said,

“This is my Body and my blood, do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:14-20) 

Jesus says in Luke 22:20,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” 

communion26Jesus wants us to remember that His Flesh and Blood took the place of the old covenant (Law) to make us acceptable (free from sin – from spiritual death to spiritual life) before God. 

It seems to be a rather significant point made during the observance of a feast itself.  He shifted the focus in a very clear way from remembering what the Passover was all about to remembering what the breaking of  HIS Body and the shedding of  HIS Blood was all about . . . replacing the blood on the doorposts (a TEMPORARY solution) with His own Blood (the PERMANENT solution).

To say that that is not enough, or to say that one does not realize the full meaning of all God has done UNLESS one observes the Torah, or that one is not pleasing to or loving God enough if one is not observing the Torah is to say that the shed Blood of Christ is really not enough.  That is ground I would not care to tread upon.  And make no mistake, that is where you are treading if you feel we all should be Torah observant. 

It is not Jesus plus anything that pleases God.  God in the flesh – Jesus – fully God and fully man, was crucified and shed His blood for our sins, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  He finished the complete work of salvation.  God does not require that we follow Torah.  He nailed the written code to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)  He released us from the Law when He released us from our sin through the Blood of Christ. (Romans 7:4-6)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  (Romans 8:1-4)

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a repentant believer, cleansed by the blood of  THE Lamb, results in the changing of a person – from the inside out!  The Law works itself from the outside in.  And it’s never enough.  Jesus talks a LOT about that in Matthew 23.

Can one truly be “Torah observant” when, in reality, one is selective in which parts of the Law one obeys?  Are there not parts of the Law that require a High Priest and a Temple?  What about animal sacrifice?  Did God become flesh and spill His blood simply to spare us the inconvenience of sacrificing animals?

What about penalties for those who violate the parts of the law for which the punishment is death?  Who will take on the “responsibility” of making sure that appropriate punishment is administered according to the Law?  Do not Deuteronomy 27:26 and Galatians 3:10 say that “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law?” (Caps mine.)

How is it, in the view of Law keepers, that Grace exempts one from observing/performing the parts of the Law that one finds inconvenient or impractical, but does not exempt one from observing/performing the more palatable parts of the Law?

Honestly, my intent is not to be antagonistic here.  I really wonder how those who are “Torah observant” can reconcile these obvious problems with consistency in obedience to the Law.  If you do go ahead and decide to perform sacrifices, to be consistent, then of what use is the Cross?  Have you not left the Cross, rejected the redemptive work of the Blood that was shed there for you by the Lamb of God?

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcisionof your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”  (Colossians 2:13-17)

I wonder . . . . . how does God view Law-keeping through the lenses of His Grace and His Blood?

Beyond the realities of what the New Covenant means to the individual believer, how the believer carries out the commands of Christ – the “Law of Christ” impacts those around that believer in a complete systemic all-inclusive way.  Christ’s commands?  Love God, love others. 

How do the realities of the New Covenant enable us to do that?

Under the New Covenant, the Law of Christ, the believer is now free to love their neighbor without restriction.  We are able to bend down into the dirt of life and minister to those in need and love them with the love that comes from the very Holy Spirit of God.  We don’t need to worry if something or someone will make us “unclean” as we love and minister to those arouned us.

Why?  Because we are cleansed with the Blood of Christ, not merely covered by the blood of animals.  Our state of redemption and “clean-ness” is permanent and irrevocable – incorruptible based on the Righteousness of Christ, which, as He lives His Life in and through us, produces the Fruit of the Spirit, Love, which fulfills the commandment to love one another, which in turn fulfills the Law.  In Christ, we are able to Love God, Love others, whatever the circumstance.

That is the beauty, the reality, of the New Covenant! 

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“Renewed” CovenantOne false definition of the New Covenant re-termed the “Renewed Covenant” typical in the Hebrew Roots Movement is found at 1bread.org:

“At His last Passover, Yahshua initiated a “New Covenant” (prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31). In Hebrew, it is really a lawrenewal of the same covenant, with a few allowances added for while we make the transition back.  [???]  But the Covenant is “with the House of Israel and the House of Judah”. It cannot be fully in effect until Israel is back together, for it is not with individuals but with a unified nation. So our focus needs to shift from just being saved individuals to again being the people of Israel. Don’t pass up this highest of callings! We dare not fail again.” 

“We dare not fail again”???  Who’s running the show in the Hebrew Roots Movement?  Man or God?

No Scriptures come to mind to support the above rendering of a “renewed Covenant”.  In more mainstream Hebrew Roots circles the concept of a “renewed Covenant” vs. the “New Covenant” is rendered with the mis-use of the original languages of Scripture. 

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Here’s a language analysis from SheepWrecked at “For the Love of Truth”, which examines whether God has given us a New or a Renewed Covenant in Christ.  Used with permission, and be sure to check out Kimberly from Maine’s take with a different style and emphasis after SheepWrecked’s article – both are well worth the time.

 Is it the New or Renewed Covenant?

By SheepWrecked

Some Hebrew roots “scholars” are teaching that we are under a renewed covenant, not new, therefore we must follow the Old Covenant laws as well. Some have gone so far as to teach that the New Covenant will not be in effect until the return of Jesus.

B’riyt Chadashah is the phrase that appears in Jeremiah 31:

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says the LORD). (Jeremiah 31:31-32)

B’riyt means covenant, which is the equivalent for the word testament. Chadash in the context of Jeremiah 31:31 does not mean renewed but new, and in this passage the adjectival form for renewedwould have to appear as mechudeshet to make it mean renewed, and not chadashah as found in the Hebrew text. We can determine that the meaning is something completely new because following verse 31, the negative “lo” appears in the Hebrew text (lo kabriyt). Contextually, this makes it clear that the writer is differentiating between an existing and a “new” covenant. The new covenant referred to in verse 31 is referred to in the Hebrew of verse 32 as lo meaning “not” the previous covenant and is defined in the passage below as not being:

“. . . the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke . . . “

There are two separate and distinct forms of chadash listed in the Hebrew lexicon for new (H2319) and renewed (H2318). Another Biblical Hebrew form for renewed is mechudash, the pu`al particple from the root (shoresh) chet-dalet-shin. Chidesh is a modern Hebrew word that is also used for renewed.

H2319
חדשׁ
châdâsh
BDB Definition:
1) new, new thing, fresh
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H2318
Same Word by TWOT Number: 613a

Here is the Hebrew lexicon listing of the word that is translated as renewed:

H2318
חדש
châdash
BDB Definition:
1) to be new, renew, repair
1a) (Piel)
1a1) to renew, make anew
1a2) to repair
1b) (Hithpael) to renew oneself
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 613

New

Let’s take a look at how the Jewish scholars that made up the translation team for the 1917 Jewish Publication Society TeNaKh translated chadash (H2319) contextually:

30 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant (b’riyt chadashah) with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;

Here is the Hebrew:

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים, נְאֻם-יְהוָה; וְכָרַתִּי, אֶת-בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת-בֵּית יְהוּדָה–בְּרִית חֲדָשָׁה.

Just to be sure, I referenced the latest version of the JPS TeNaKh (1985). It says new there as well. As a matter of fact, it says new in every translation I reviewed, with the exception of a few Hebrew Roots translations which are filled with faulty language scholarship, and are purely agenda driven.

So using the Hebrew roots teacher’s logic, shouldn’t this passage below also be renewed then?

Do not remember former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new 2319 (chadashah) thing; now it shall sprout. Shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Using the same reasoning, wouldn’t it be a renewed song in the following passages as well?

Sing to Him a new (H2319) song; play skillfully, with shouts of joy. (Psalms 33:3)

And He put a new (H2319) song of praise to our God in my mouth; many shall see and shall fear and shall trust in the LORD. (Psalms 40:3)

O sing to the LORD a new (H2319) song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. (Psalms 96:1)

O sing to the LORD a new (H2319) song, for He has done wondrous things; His right hand and His holy arm has saved Him. (Psalms 98:1)

I will sing a new (H2319) song to You, O God; I will sing praises to You on a harp of ten strings (Psalms 144:9)

Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new (H2319) song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. (Psalms 149:1)

Sing a new (H2319) song to the LORD; His praise from the end of the earth, you who go to sea, and all that is in it; the coasts and their people. (Isaiah 42:10)

How did Hebrew Scribes translate the word “new” when they put together the Greek traslation (the Septuagint) of the Old Testament?
Below are some of the words that the Hebrew scribes used when translating the Hebrew word chadashinto a Greek equivalent for the Septuagint (LXX) and their definitions:

H2319
chadash G2537 kainos
chadash G3501 neos
G2537
καινοìς
kainos
Thayer Definition:
1) new
1a) as respects form
1a1) recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn
1b) as respects substance
1b1) of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: of uncertain affinity
Citing in TDNT: 3:447, 388

Now from the New Testament writings we have these passages using the Greek equivalent for chadash listed above, which is kainos (G2537):

Rev 5:9 And2532 they sung103 [5719] a new 2537 song 5603, saying3004 [5723], Thou art1488 [5748] worthy514 to take2983 [5629] the book975, and2532 to open455 [5658] the seals4973 thereof846: for3754 thou wast slain4969 [5648], and2532 hast redeemed59 [5656] us2248 to God2316 by1722 thy4675 blood129 out of1537 every3956 kindred5443, and2532 tongue1100, and2532 people2992, and2532 nation1484;

Rev 14:3 And2532 they sung103 [5719] as it were5613 a new 2537 song 5603 before1799 the throne2362, and2532 before1799 the four5064 beasts2226, and2532 the elders4245: and2532 no man3762 could1410 [5711] learn3129 [5629] that new 5603 but1508 the hundred1540 and forty5062 and four5064 thousand5505, which3588 were redeemed59 [5772] from575 the earth1093.

Mat 26:28 For1063 this5124 is2076 [5748] my3450 blood129 of the new 2537 testament1242, which3588 is shed1632 [5746] for4012 many4183 for1519 the remission859 of sins266.

Heb 8:8 For1063 finding fault3201 [5740] with them846, he saith3004 [5719], Behold2400 [5628], the days2250 come2064 [5736], saith3004 [5719] the Lord2962, when2532 I will make4931 [5692] a new2537 covenant1242 with1909 the house3624 of Israel2474 and2532 with1909 the house3624 of Judah2455

Heb 8:13 In1722 that he saith3004 [5721], A new2537 covenant , he hath made3822 the first4413 old3822 [5758]. Now1161 that which decayeth3822 [5746] and2532 waxeth old1095 [5723] is ready1451 to vanish away854.

And the now another equivalent word for chadash(neos G3501) is used (see definition below):

Heb 12:24 And2532 to Jesus2424 the mediator3316 of the new 3501 covenant1242, and2532 to the blood129 of sprinkling4473, that speaketh2980 [5723] better things2909 than3844 that of Abel6.

G3501
νεìος / νεωìτερος
neos / neōteros
Thayer Definition:
1) recently born, young, youthful
2) new
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a primary word
Citing in TDNT: 4:896, 628

Someone in the Hebrew Roots Movement may give this example while trying to convince you of the “renewed” concept:
“So what happens to the ‘Chodesh’ moon? Does it just go poof when its cycle is done?  [Editor’s note: A Hebrew Roots adherent recently put it this way to me: “Keep in mind Jer. 31:31 talks of the new covenant as the ‘old’ one being written on our hearts. Also keep in mind that the Hebraic understanding of “new” is more like, ‘renewed’. Just as the New moon is seen every month and is certainly not a different, one, so too the Covenant is not a different one, but a renewed one.”]

Actually, chodesh is listed as a totally different word in the Hebrew lexicon, that has its derivation from a word that is listed as meaning renewed.

H2320
חדש
chôdesh
BDB Definition:
1) the new moon, month, monthly
1a) the first day of the month
1b) the lunar month
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from *H2318*
Same Word by TWOT Number: 613b

The Bad News and the Good News
I once read that a Jewish person living in Israel on a good day could only fulfill about 240 of the 613 commandments established by the rabbis. That is because there is no Temple, no Priesthood, and other various reasons. If you do the math on that, it means that a person living in the US could probably only fulfill 40 +/-  percent of the Law on a good day.

Here is the bad news:

If you truly fulfill the royal Law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. But if you have partiality you work sin, being reproved by the Law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep all the Law, but stumbles in one, he has become guilty of all. (James 2:8-10)

To believe that you are keeping the Law (which one is not capable of) and then switching to grace when someone points that out, is a terrible witness for the price that Christ paid (in my personal opinion). This is where the whole Hebrew roots concept of a “renewed covenant” got its start. What do the scriptures say, and what is truly your final authority? Let’s look to the book of Hebrews just to be sure:

Truly, then, if perfection was through the Levitical priestly office (for the people had been given Law under it), why yet was there need for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek and not to be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priestly office having been changed, of necessity a change of law also occurs.

For, indeed, an annulment of thepreceding command comes about because of its weakness and unprofitableness. For the Law perfected nothing, but a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And by how much it was not without oath-taking; for they truly becoming priests are without oath-taking, but He with oath-taking, through the One saying to Him, The Lord swore, and will not care to change, “You are a priest to the age according to the order of Melchizedek;” by so much Jesus has become Surety of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:11-12,18-22)

For anyone to teach that the New Covenant is not here yet goes against scripture, and is agenda driven. Those who teach this are alluding to the fact that we are still under the Old Covenant until Christ returns. Since the book of Hebrews shows that to be incorrect, many of the Hebrew roots teachers are now saying that the book of Hebrews is not authentic, and should be removed from the canon.

And now for the Good News (The Gospel!)
According to the Book that I read, the Law is now written in our hearts.

But now He has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as He is a Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises:

For if that first was faultless, place would not have been sought for a second. For finding fault, He said to them, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will make an end on the house of Israel and on the house of Judah; a new covenant shall be, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day of My taking hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not regard them”, says the Lord. “Because this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days”, says the Lord, “giving My Laws into their mind, and I will write them on their hearts,and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each one their neighbor, and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’; because all shall know Me, from the least of them to their great ones. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and I will not at all remember their sins and their lawless deeds.” In the saying, New, He has made the first old. And the thing being made old and growing aged is near disappearing. (Hebrews 8:6-13)

A covenant cannot be changed after the death of the testator:

And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were covered under the first testament, those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator is living. And so not even the first testament was dedicated without blood. (Hebrews 9:15-18)

Brothers, I speak according to man, a covenant having been ratified, even among mankind, no one sets aside or adds to it. (Galatians 3:15)

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Kimberly from Maine Says:

After reading several statements claiming that because the New Moon is not actually new therefore the New Covenant is not either, but “REnewed”, I decided to do a word study on “new” and “renew.” I found the study quite enlightening and thought I’d share my results with you.

According to Strong’s Concordance, there are seven different Hebrew words translated “new.”

The first is 1069 bakar baw-kar’ a primitive root; properly, to burst the womb, i.e. (causatively) bear or make early fruit (of woman or tree); also (as denominative from 1061) to give the birthright:–make firstborn, be firstling, bring forth first child (new fruit). It is translated “new” in the following verse:

“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth NEW fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” Eze 47:12

The second instance is 1278 briy’ah ber-ee-aw’ feminine from 1254; a creation, i.e. a novelty:–new thing. It is found in this verse:

“But if the LORD make a NEW thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.” Nu 16:30

The third instance is 2323 chadath khad-ath’ (Aramaic) corresponding to 2319; new:–new and is found in this verse:

“4With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house: 5And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.” Ezr 6:4-5

The fourth instance is 2961 tariy taw-ree’ from an unused root apparently meaning to be moist; properly, dripping; hence, fresh (i.e. recently made such):–new, putrefying. This word is used in the verse

“15And he found a NEW jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.”Judges 15:15

In each of these instances, the words I have given were used just a single time, in the verses given.

Then I made an interesting discovery. The next word is 8492 tiyrowsh tee-roshe’ or tiyrosh {tee-roshe’}; from 3423 in the sense of expulsion; must or fresh grape-juice (as just squeezed out); by implication (rarely) fermented wine:–(new, sweet) wine. This word is translated “new wine” in 13 verses. In other words, if you look up “new” in the verse Proverbs 3:10 and then “wine” in that same verse, you are given the number 8492 for the word “new” and again for the word “wine.” In other words, “new” is not one Hebrew word and then “wine” another. “Tiyrowsh” means “new wine.” Here are some verses so that you may look for yourself:

“39For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the NEW WINE, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.” Ne 10:39

“10So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with NEW WINE.” Pr 3:10

“11Whoredom and wine and NEW WINE take away the heart.” Ho 4:11

With this discovery fresh in mind, I approached the next word 2320 chodesh kho’-desh from 2318; the new moon; by implication, a month:–month(-ly), new moon. Again, I found that there is not one Hebrew word for “new” and another for “moon,” but a single Hebrew word translated “new moon” in 24 verses. I have given four verses as examples so that you may look for yourself.

“5And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the NEW MOON, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.” 1 Sam 20:5

“23And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither NEW MOON, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.” 2 Ki 4:23

“3Blow up the trumpet in the NEW MOON, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.” Ps 81:3

“23And it shall come to pass, that from one NEW MOON to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” Isa 66:23

But there’s more! While the word chodesh is translated “new moon” in 24 instances, in another 217 it is simply translated “month.”

“4And the ark rested in the seventh MONTH, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” Gen 8:4

“19And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first MONTH, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.” Jos 4:19

At this point, I find it simply illogical that one can conclude that because “chodesh” means “new moon” and “month” that therefore the “new” of “New covenant” in Jer 31:31 means “renew.” But we will continue the study…

The final word translated “new” in the Old Testament is 2319 chadash khaw-dawsh’ from 2318; new:–fresh, new thing. There are 45 instances of this word, one of them the Jeremiah verse in question:

“31Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a NEW covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” Jer 31:31

It would indeed change our understanding of this important promise if we understand “new” to mean “renew.” But are we being honest with the other uses of this word if we take it to mean renew?

“8Now there arose up a NEW king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Ex 1:8

“11And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with NEW ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.” Judg 16:11

“3Sing unto him a NEW song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Ps 33:3

“19Behold, I will do a NEW thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isa 43:19

Clearly, the word “new” that is used in Jer 31:31 must be understood to mean “fresh, new thing” if the other instances of that same word are to make any sense at all.

But to be fair, let’s consider the word “renew.”
“Renew” is translated 10 times from just two Hebrew words. Three times it is translated from 2498 chalaph khaw-laf’ a primitive root; properly, to slide by, i.e. (by implication) to hasten away, pass on, spring up, pierce or change:–abolish, alter, change, cut off, go on forward, grow up, be over, pass (away, on, through), renew, sprout, strike through in these verses:

“31But they that wait upon the LORD shall RENEW their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isa 40:31

“1Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people RENEW their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.” Isa 41:1

“20My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was RENEWED in my hand.” Job 29:20

The other seven times, “renew” was translated from 2318 chadash khaw-dash’ a primitive root; to be new; causatively, to rebuild:–renew, repair.

“14Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and RENEW the kingdom there.” 1 Sam 11:14

“10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and RENEW a right spirit within me.” Ps 51:10

“21Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; RENEW our days as of old.” La 5:21

“8And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and RENEWED the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.” 2 Ch 15:8

“5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is RENEWED like the eagle’s.” Ps 103:5

“17Thou RENEWEST thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.” Job 10:17

“30Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou RENEWEST the face of the earth” Ps 104:30

Since I have engaged in this study, I stand convinced that the “new” in Jer 31:31 does indeed mean “fresh, new thing” rather than “renew.”

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Many thanks to SheepWrecked and Kimberly from Maine for their thorough examinations of the ‘New/Renewed’ language issues!

Folks, don’t let those in the Hebrew Roots Movement try to convince you that the Bible’s original language says that we are to go back to the Law.  As you can see from the above, God’s plan of redemption through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus ushered in not a “renewed” covenant, but the New Covenant – we are no longer under the Law of Moses, but now under the Law of Christ, which is actually about Fruit rather than about Law.

The New Covenant is so vastly superior; a better covenant built upon better promises, with a Perfect Sacrifice and a Perfect, Forever High Priest!  Don’t settle for or strive to live under the Old Covenant, or even try to mix the two. 

Check out these free audio teachings regarding the New Covenant and the New Life we have in Christ (Highly Recommended):

Three other good audio teachings which round out much of the contextual, Scriptural basis for the Truths of the New Covenant can be heard here:

The first two teachings are from an Evangelical stream of faith, while the next three are from more of a Charismatic stream of faith, but all are very sound theologically.

Another good resource for New Covenant articles in print form can be found at Escape to Reality.  Highly Recommended.

These teachings and more New Covenant teachings can be found on the Media Page here at JGIG.  Lots of good resources there – check it out!

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Other articles of interest:

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If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, 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.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Ancient Heresies & Discredited Theories Which Have Been Taken Up by the Cults & Sects

by Robin Brace

[This article is informative in regard to the Hebrew Roots Movement, as variations of each of the following streams of thought are present in HRM doctrine.  As God’s Word so wisely forewarns, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)  – JGIG]

ARIANISM
The belief that Jesus was not really God, just the highest creation of God was one of the first Church heresies. It was defeated simply because it is unscriptural; there are just too many New Testament verses which cannot be explained within this schema. The teaching originated with Arius, a fourth century Alexandrian minister. It was denounced as heresy at the councils of Nicaea (325) & Constantinople (381.) These early Church councils were almost certainly guided by the Holy Spirit and their judgements have stood the test of time.

The Arians insisted on calling the Son of God ‘creature’ and ‘work’ because they were uncompromising monotheists (believing in One God) and thought that this was compromised by calling Jesus God. But one should not baulk at revealed truths just because they may be humanly difficult to explain. If Arianisn should be true, we have no saviour, since Jesus is too far below God for His sacrifice to have been efficaceous for us. Jesus becomes an example of decent living and little more. This is high error indeed! Despite this, Arianism is still alive and kicking and is at the heart of the approach of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

EBIONITISM
The Ebionites also tended to demote the place of Christ. They taught the necessity for Christians to also uphold and obey the law of Moses and so have often been compared to the Judaistic group who were undermining Paul’s teachings at Galatia. A few have claimed that the Ebionites were the descendants of the Jerusalem church of the first century, but this is very far from being proven.

Like the Arians this group were very soon on the outside of the established Church. This approach is very very similar to the approach adopted by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the ‘Worldwide Church of God’ cult/sect. For Armstrong, law was everything although he was very selective about which laws he was keen on; some were almost ignored, others such as the seventh day Sabbath and the Leviticus 23 holydays, were relentlessly pushed by Armstrong. He appeared totally disinterested in the major Christian doctrine of Grace, despite that doctrine’s very high profile in the writings of Paul. Armstrong would have agreed that the Old Covenant sacrifices had now ceased but was unwilling to make further concessions on Old Covenant law, which placed his theology a long way from the theology of the New Testament.

The tiny WCG offshoot cults have tried to maintain, to a greater or lesser degree, Armstrong’s approach.

PELAGIANISM
This was the famous 5th century heresy which was condemned at the councils of Milevis (416) and Carthage (418) – Pelagius himself was a British Bible teacher who rejected the doctrine of Original Sin and taught a ‘pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps’ method of salvation. Yet again we find both Christ and the pivotal Christian doctrine of grace strongly relegated within this schema. Pelagianism has (necessarily) gone straight into every cult or sect which rejects the fully biblical doctrine of Original Sin (Psalm 51: 5) – the doctrine appears in the early chapters of Genesis and is later fully supported by Paul so it really is not an option for the serious Bible student to reject it; despite this, however, numerous Adventist-type groups do reject it.

The clear teaching within [true] essential doctrine is that the legacy of Adam’s sin has been passed on and imputed to all his children, mankind therefore stands in a current state of  ‘falleness’ – only Christ can resolve this situation and He does so by imputing His righteousness to all who come to Him in faith. So the first Adam has caused his sin to be imputed to his children, while the second Adam, Jesus Christ, in His act of redemption, causes His righteousness to be imputed to all of His children. But where these vital biblical concepts are not upheld, Pelagianism will raise its head. Now men and women have it within themselves to ‘make it’ following Jesus’ example, and grace is left nowhere!

This really is the teaching of salvation by works. This theological schema has strongly affected the cults and sects and large areas of the New Age movement. It was strongly present in the old-style WCG group.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES
It has wisely been said that a cult does not exist except where it can uphold at least one conspiracy theory! This is very true and it is truly astonishing what some sects and cults have sometimes succeeded in getting quite bright and intelligent people to believe!

However, some of the sub-Christian sects do not have clean hands here either; some of the seventh day groups have come up with woeful perversions of early Church history in order to ‘prove’ how only apostate Christians turned to Sunday.

Typically, religious conspiracy theories might involve world bankers, the number 666, political goings-on in Europe, the Roman Catholic Church, new translations of the Bible… or almost anything else. The fact that there are sometimes nuggets of truth in these sorts of theories should not give anyone licence to come up with wild, wooly and totally unsubstantiated claims which are liable to lead the naive astray!

To take just a few of these; the number 666 does, of course, occur in the book of Revelation, but the astonishing and totally unproven theories which people have sometimes come up with – and then been prepared to claim that their approach is ‘biblical’ – is quite amazing!

A recent book, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great; the Church of Rome and the European Union exposed to the Light of Truth’ is fairly typical. It contains some amazing nonsense and yet will undoubtedly be avidly believed by many who read it! Much of it appears to be based on the now widely discredited ‘The Two Babylons’ by Hislop. Numerous unproven and unprovable ideas and schemas are given credence, as is the now somewhat famed religious hoaxer, Rivera. (One of his claims is that the Church of Rome not only frames, but actually murders Protestant ministers!)

The economy with hard facts is, I’m afraid, typical of such books. Now, of course, as evangelical protestants, we believe that the Church of Rome does have enormous doctrinal problems – but surely that does not give anyone the right to write wild and sensationalist claims which have not been meticulously researched!

A campaign to save the Old King James Bible has predictably gained support from some of these extremist groups. Some claims about various Bible translators have gone as far as blatant name-calling! The book mentioned even confuses the widely respected Christian translator, B.F. Westacott with W.W. Westacott, the occultist!

In all of this approach, fear appears to be a factor, forgetting the sound advice of 2 Timothy 1: 7.

‘LEVEL PLAYING FIELD’ BIBLICAL EXEGESIS
The Bible, quite obviously, contains various forms of writing. Surely nobody can deny that it contains prophecy, poetry, parables, historical accounts, apocalyptic writing, letters and other elements too. We should all be able to perceive that these are different forms of writing. Yes, in the case of the Bible, all inspired by the Holy Spirit – but still different forms of literature.

This should not seem so strange; when we look at a newspaper, we find main news, the editorial, a TV section, advertisements, perhaps (lamentably!) an astrology column, maybe a fashion section, the sports section and so on. We all immediately recognize these as different forms of writing. We do not expect the same from the ‘car ads’ as we would from the sports, or we do not confuse a vital ‘breaking news’ item with the gardening column! This sounds obvious and quite amusing, in fact.

All theologians and serious students of the Bible must confront these factors when looking at the varied facets of the Word of God. Unfortunately, however, the sects and cults have always tended to look on the Bible as a level playing field in which to enjoy their sports, unencumbered by any academic responsibility! This is not putting it too strongly.

They have often practised a ‘mix and match’ school of biblical interpretation which does not take account of differences within biblical writings. Lamentably these people have often not been slow in lifting a given Scripture completely out of its context if it can be used (abused?) to back up their points and agendas. They have been unconcerned about mixing different writing genres. This would be somewhat akin to reading a news item about Tony Blair but noticing that a detail had been left out, so looking for it in the advertising column! Obviously absurd.

This is the practise that Kurt Hutton called ‘Knight Jump exegesis’ (which he applied to Jehovah’s Witnesses) – all the Adventist-type (and indeed other types) of cults & sects have frequently ended up with the proverbial ‘egg on their faces’ because of repeated attempts to impose their own agendas upon the Scriptures, especially in the area of prophecy.

UNITARIANISM
Though there were some early ‘rumblings’ about the Trinity doctrine, the early Church councils tended to iron these out. As a more organized heresy, Unitarianism arrived late, emerging in 16th century England and Hungary. These people baulked at the idea that God could exist ‘in three persons’ and they were, perhaps, especially concerned about the Holy Spirit. Before too long, however, elements of Pelagianism came into the movement with its optimistic view of Man’s salvific potential and – as always in such a scenario – the place of Christ and His Grace started to be downplayed. Others started to say that Christ’s sacrifice had not been strictly necessary.

So, yet again, we see evidence of how these Christ and grace demoting heresies tended to ‘stick together’. Yet, while the make-up of the Trinity is not a specific part of the gospel message, the Trinity can be plainly seen in the New Testament. In time it was natural that questions would be asked so the early Church came up with an agreed approach in order to prevent division, dissent and heresy. It was the best they could do and, in fact, no better way of explaining the concept of God in three persons has been produced.

Unitarianism has gone straight into most of the cults and sub-Christian sects. Some of these people prefer to call the Holy Spirit ‘just the power of God’, and this sounds attractive at first but a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures eventually shows that this doesn’t go far enough; there is plainly a personal element too – in 62 references to the Spirit in Acts, 18 describe the Spirit in terms of a personage who speaks, forbids, thinks good, appoints, sends, bears witness, prevents, is deceived and resisted!  ‘Just the power of God’ does not satisfy these Scriptures!

In the Pauline epistles too we find that the Spirit is grieved, bears witness, cries, leads and makes intercession. Again, the cults and sects have often claimed that the Trinity is pagan in origin and they have gone looking for triads within paganism as evidence of this – but, of course, the ‘researcher’s effect’ immediately comes into play here (researchers tend to ‘find’ whatever they are looking for!) The truth is, however, that the Trinity is not error but, rather, the rejection of it is a heresy as the Church decided a long time ago. The whole Holy Trinity is involved in our conversion and Christian life! The Father draws us to the Son by means of His Spirit and it is the Spirit which leads us on our Christian paths.

When Jesus was about to return to heaven, He specifically stated that it was needful that His Spirit should come in order to continue leading His Church – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all revealed to be God; the Scriptures are not lacking to back up this point.

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Used with permission from UK Apologetics.

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