• 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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    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.

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    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.

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Jesus’ Gospel? Paul’s Gospel?

Jesus’ Gospel?  Paul’s Gospel?  Are they different?  Or are they complementary?  Is Paul’s Gospel ‘his’, or is it God’s Gospel embraced by Paul?  Are Paul’s writings (and the other apostolic writings in the New Covenant Scriptures) what Jesus alluded to in John 16?

Jesus vs Paul

I was asked this question in an email recently:

“Another question, some at hrm [Hebrew Roots Movement/Torah pursuant folks] say there is the gospel of Jesus vs the gospel of Paul.  Basically they teach that Paul wrote his own gospel even though Jesus clearly stated after his death burial and resurrection there would be more to come(information).”

My response (edited and expanded for this venue):
That’s a great question! In John 16, Jesus says this:

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jesus is clearly telling His disciples that there is more truth to come that they, on that side of the Cross, could not, would not understand.

The Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and His Perfect High Priesthood all needed to be in place before the fullness of the Gospel of Grace could be explained.

With the implications to the Law and Israel’s relationship with it and with God, when you think about it, it kinda had to be Paul to receive that revelation of the Gospel of Grace.

Paul was a Pharisee of the highest reputation, knowing the Law inside and out.  For him to embrace the Gospel of Grace, which he proclaimed to be ‘his’ Gospel, was huge.  To address that question real quick, Paul, by the end of his letter to the Romans states that it is ‘his’ Gospel, not in an ‘I thought it up and created it’ way, but in an ‘I now embrace this Gospel of Grace as my Good News, applied to my life – the New Covenant, superior to the Old Covenant for which I had such passion’ way.

Note that in Romans 1, Paul says this:

16 For I am not ashamed of >>> the <<< gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

At the beginning of the letter to the Romans it is ‘the’ Gospel, and the letter to the Romans is a treatise on our

>>> need <<< for the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, the

>>> supply <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, and the

>>> results <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike.

And Paul expertly weaves the proper use of the Law and the application and superiority of Grace throughoutat the end proclaiming, as a former Pharisee Law-keeper, that this is *his* Gospel – a Gospel that he embraces *himself*, after having gone through the issues of Law and Grace point by point throughout the letter (and also in his other letters).

Now read Paul’s closing comments in Romans 16:

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations,

>>> according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— <<<

27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

So the Gospel that Paul preached was not a gospel apart from Christ’s, but Paul’s and the other apostolic New Covenant writings were the fulfillment of what Christ said in John 16.

Paul minces no words here when establishing the source and authority for what he was teaching to the Galatians:

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 

12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,

>>> but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. <<<

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16

>>> was pleased to reveal his Son to me, <<<

in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

One thing to note here, as well, is that Jesus said that the Spirit of Truth would point to and glorify Christ – not to point to and glorify the Law, but to Christ, which is what Paul and the other apostles do all throughout the New Covenant Scriptures.

God was no longer relating to mankind – nor was He desiring mankind to relate to Him – through the Law, but through the Work and Person of God in the flesh, Christ Jesus.

So Paul (and the others) were not writing their own ‘gospels’; they were carrying out the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 16 – they were receiving that further information that could be understood on the side of the Cross where they now lived and we do too – revealing what was actually accomplished at the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and with the High Priesthood of Christ – and writing it down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The point of this post is to show that Paul does not contradict the Gospel of Christ, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explains it.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  (from John 16)

Paul, in particular, expertly goes back to the Law and the Prophets and shows how the Old Covenant shadows give way to the New Covenant realities in Christ.

So the next time a Law ‘keeper’ tries to tell you that Paul’s Gospel is either ‘misunderstood’ (those who try to twist Paul’s words to support Torah observance for believers) or a ‘different’ gospel from Jesus’ Gospel (those who reject Paul’s writings outright), point them to John 16!

(I found the illustration at a pro-Islam think tank site, btw.  Funny, they use the same arguments that HRMers tend to use!)

Grace and peace to you in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

-JGIG

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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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Romans 7:1-6 and Spiritual Adultery

Following is a guest post regarding the exposition of Romans 7:1-6, a passage greatly misused by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement and other ‘Law-keeping’ sects.  At the end of this article, I’ll post an excerpt from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley, where the HRM view of Romans 7:1-6 is detailed to give contrast to what we see a plain reading of the passage communicating.  Thanks to UGANUL for submitting the following!

Christian Law-Keepers and Spiritual Adultery
An Exposition of Romans 7:1-6

by UGANUL (Under Grace And Not Under Law)

Hebrew Roots, Torah Observant and Seventh Day Adventist believers know well the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”, number seven of the Big Ten. They also know well Jesus’ expansion of that commandment in His sermon on the mount, in which He proclaimed lust to be adultery in the heart.  Law-keepers love to say things like, “See, Jesus didn’t do away with the law, He made it even more demanding!”

A little rabbit-trail here from my main subject, but every time I hear a statement like that I want to reply, “Yes, and if Jesus had included the fourth commandment in His sermon on the mount, it would have probably gone something like this:”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘The seventh day is a Sabbath (complete rest) to the Lord Your God’, but I say to you, not just one day a week shall you enter into rest, but you shall enter into My rest every day of the week all day long.”

That is exactly the message of Hebrews 4:1-10 and elsewhere in the New Testament. But I digress . . .

Back to adultery.  I think that we can all agree on the fact that there are at least two kinds of adultery:

  1. Physical adultery (actual sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)
  2. Psychological adultery (lust in the heart for sexual involvement with someone other than one’s spouse)

To these two forms of adultery, I believe the Apostle Paul clearly adds a third form of adultery, spiritual adultery, explained in Roman 7:1-6.

The first three verses there set up the basis of comparison with physical adultery:

Romans 7:1-3
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

That’s all pretty clear; no controversy here.  Paul is speaking to those who know the Law, so probably a good number of Jewish converts to the gospel of Jesus are among the Christians at Rome.  And they (and even those under other forms of civil law) clearly understand that, yes, if a woman is married to a husband, and while that husband is still alive she goes and joins herself to another man, she is clearly an adulteress.

Having set that stage, Paul goes on to apply this truth to those who are followers of Christ:

Romans 7:4
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.adultery 3

What is the “therefore” there for?  Obviously, this verse is an application of the previous three verses.

It is evident, is it not, that on a spiritual level, the Apostle is saying we cannot be joined to both Christ and the Law at the same time.

Otherwise, just like the woman in the first three verses, an individual who seeks to join himself or herself to both Jesus and the Law at the same time commits spiritual adultery, a third kind of adultery.

It seems obvious to me that this article should be concluded right here in the first clause of v. 4 in which we are told that if we are part of the “brethren” in Christ Paul is addressing, then we have been “made to die to the Law”, period, end of argument, end of this nonsense about Christians needing to obey the Law given to Moses.

We believers in Christ have been made to die to the Law!  What is so difficult to understand about that straightforward statement?  But alas, I must be too simple-minded, so I will continue.

There is obviously a huge problem here.  Some 1400 years before the book of Romans was written, Moses recorded the commandments of God for the Israelite people which appeared to be good for all time stretching into eternity.  Now, however, the very Son of God has appeared demanding that we be joined to Him in ways which supersede the Law given to Moses.  E.g., in His sermon on the mount He differentiates Himself from the Law with the refrain, “But I say to you…”, and even overturns some points of the Law such as commanding us to swear no oaths at all when the Law commands its adherents to take oaths to the Lord.  (Compare and contrast Mt. 5:33-37 and Dt. 6:13.)

So, what is the solution to this perceived contradiction between the Laws given to Moses, and the teachings given to us by our Lord Jesus and His Apostles?

Here it is:  Just as in verses 1-3 in which someone has to die in order for the second union to be non-adulterous, so someone has to die here in order for there to be no spiritual adultery – the adultery of seeking to join ourselves to both Jesus and the Law of Moses at the same time.

Now here is where I think God provides an amazing, startling, and totally unexpected solution.  In verse 4, He actually has two people die: Jesus and the believer in Christ!  But He also has those two people raised from the dead, so that they may be joined to each other in a new union that truly bears “fruit for God”.

Implication: The old union with the Law was not getting the fruit-bearing job done.  Only New Life can do that.

In another place Paul reveals,

The letter (speaking of the Ten Commandments carved on tablets of stone) kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

But wait; there’s more!  God tells us why He had to work the plan this way.  He tells us that there is actually a problem with the Law:  It actually causes the flesh to sin, to bear fruit for death!  Romans 7:5 says:

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

Almost every translation of the New Testament puts it the same way – that our sinful passions are aroused by the Law to cause us to sin!  Yes, there is something about the Law of Moses and our sinful flesh that is impossible to fit together to bear fruit for God.  The Law of Moses arouses our sinful passions to show us how desperately we need our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now I can almost feel a flood of law-keepers descending upon me saying, “But look down at v. 12, ‘So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.’  The problem isn’t with the commandment; it is with our sinful flesh.”

My dear friend, I am not saying that there is something evil about the Law.

  • By saying that the Law is “holy”, that word signifies that it is set apart for a special purpose, to show us our sin.
  • By saying that the Law is “just”, that word signifies that God is just in condemning us to His wrath.
  • By saying that the Law is “good”, that word signifies that the Law accomplishes the good purpose of showing us that in and of ourselves we can never accomplish all the demands of that law, and it thereby leads us to our need for Christ.

Unbeknownst to the Israelites of Moses’ day and following, they were never going to be able to perfectly keep the Law, and were in effect being set up for failure so that in the fullness of time they would be driven to the grace and mercy and forgiveness in Christ, along with the power and privilege to live a whole new kind of life above sin.

So the Law has a purpose, and Paul explains that purpose in vv. 7-12 (as well as in many other places in the New Testament).  But here is the one thing we must recognize about the Law:  Though the Law of Moses had and has many good purposes, though it is holy (set apart), and though it is good, there is something even more important about it:  It is inadequate.  It cannot produce life, and it cannot bear fruit.  This is why it is so important to tenaciously hold to the truth of Romans 7:6:

But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

I am amazed at the hermeneutical (interpretive) gymnastics that HRM, TO, and SDA apologists use to get around verses in the New Testament, but it is as obvious as the day is long that what this verse really means is, “we have been released from the Law”!

In the Greek it still means, “We have been released from the Law”!  Ok, if you missed it look at the second phrase which indicates action completed in the past with results continuing into the present:  “having died to that by which we were bound”.

Folks, when we were “born-again” or “born from above” (John 3), we were crucified with Christ and raised up with Him (Col. 3 and elsewhere), so that we are now dead to the Law along with everything else associated with our old life. We are new creatures in Christ… “the old things passed away, behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

Now there is one more very important death that took place by crucifixion, and sadly this death is often missed by many Christians.  Not only was Jesus crucified (and raised again), and believers in Jesus were crucified with Him (and raised again, Gal. 2:19-21), but there was also something else that was crucified, and this thing that was crucified was not raised from the dead.  For believers, the thing that was crucified was the Law itself!

Check out these two passages from Colossians and Ephesians:

Colossians 2:13-14
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

What is the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us? Paul makes it even clearer in his parallel passage to this one in the body of his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:14-16
For He Himself [Jesus] is our peace, who made both groups [Jews and Gentiles] into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Dear friend, do not pass over this passage too quickly.  Observe two very important points:

First, notice in v. 16 what exactly was put to death on the cross.  It was the enmity.  What was the enmity?  Look back up into v. 15, where it tells us exactly what the enmity was:  “…the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances….”

Let’s not get too complicated here.  The enmity is the Law.

Second, as JGIG has pointed out previously, the Greek word translated “abolishing” both here in Ephesians 2:15 and in the text of our exposition at Rom. 7:6 is the word katargeo – G2673.  It’s semantic range includes the following meanings:

to render idle, unemployed, inactive, inoperative; to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency; to deprive of force, influence or power; to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish; to cease, to pass away, be done away; to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from; and finally to terminate all intercourse with.

Given this semantic range, it would seem to me that the translators of the New King James Version were rather mild in saying we have been released from the Law in Romans 7:6, and dead on accurate in their translation of Ephesians 2:15 by saying “abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law….”

Dear friend, if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have been

  • released
  • separated
  • severed
  • loosed
  • discharged and terminated from the Law of Moses which has been
  • annulled
  • abolished, and
  • deprived of all force, influence, power and authority over you as a New Covenant believer!

There are many reasons why we have been released from the Law of Moses, but one of the most important is that it is impossible for us to ever obey all its commandments:

James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

It is both a Biblical fact and the common experience of every human being outside of Jesus Christ, that none of us, not even Ellen G. White or any other proponent of sinless perfectionism, has ever lived a life completely without sin.

Sooner or later, many Law abiding believers come to the realization of what sadly has taken them a long period of years to finally admit:  That living by the letter of the law is actually and truly an act of the flesh.

You are either walking in the power of your own flesh to keep commandments, many of which, by the way, were never intended for believers in Christ to keep in the same way the Old Testament Israelites were to keep them, or you are walking in the Spirit, being led by Him as “sons of God” into and through a lifestyle of fulfilling the Royal law (James 2:8), the law of love, the “new commandment” Jesus gave to us.  There is no middle ground!

Ok, sorry for the run-on sentence in the previous paragraph; perhaps I was influenced by many of the Apostle Paul’s long sentences.  Dear loved one, let me conclude here by encouraging you from the bottom of my heart:

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Whether it is committing adultery or trying to keep all the commandments of the Law of Moses, it is still of the flesh, and will only reap corruption.  Sow to the Spirit, dear friend, and reap eternal life.

Postscript: For those of you Goyim (Gentiles) who are trying to become more Jewish through Torah observance, please take heed to the following New Covenant warning from Romans 2:17-24 about being Jewish:

17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?  22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?  23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

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Following is an excerpt of an examination of Jim Staley’s teaching, ‘Identity Crisis’, in which he relays an interpretation common in the Hebrew Roots Movement regarding Romans 7:1-6.  Excerpted from Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley:

The Misuse of Romans 7:1-6

. . . Staley doesn’t answer the question, but goes into how God divorces and then makes it so that He can remarry Israel.

Around 1:00 he takes Romans 7:4 and actually says that Israel died to Law, but died only to the law of adultery, so that She could be married to another. Romans 7:4 actually says,

4 So, my brothers, 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 to God.

Those in Christ do not die to a single law, but to THE Law, as Romans 7:4 clearly states.

Did you die just to the Law regarding adultery? If the law of adultery died, like the husband did in the scenario presented in verses 1-3, that might make sense, as the rest of the Law could remain intact, but the Scripture does not say that the law of adultery died, it says that those in Christ died. When someone dies, they die to all laws. So dying to a single law makes no sense in light of Romans 7:6, which says this:

6 But 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.

The written code, as we know, is the Ten Commandments and the other 600+ specific commands documented by God in Torah.

In Romans 7:4-6, the Law doesn’t die, WE do!

To what?

To the Law.

Why?

To be able to be joined to Another.

To Whom?

To Christ!

Hang on to your hats for this one: If you go back to the Law (which you have died to and been released from in order to be joined to Christ), you commit spiritual adultery (see part 4 on this page).

Whether you view the Law as a husband, as in the example in verses 1-3, as a Schoolmaster/Tutor/Guardian, as in Galatians 3:21-28, or anything else, you cannot be joined to both the Law and to Christ!

. . . 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.

Which brings me to a few rhetorical questions: If you are now dead to just the Law of adultery, does it now matter if you commit adultery? Is adultery no longer a part of the jots and tittles, none of which were supposed to pass away? If you believe that you died just to the law of adultery, what is the ‘written code’ spoken of by Paul — just the Law of adultery? Or maybe the passage is referring to the Oral Traditions? No, that can’t be it, because the Oral Traditions include all of the Law plus other stuff. Silly? Perhaps, but you get the point.

Torah folk that I’ve talked with tell me that if we interpret Romans 7:4 to mean the whole Law then it must be okay to go out and murder, steal, commit adultery, etc. Yet, if we go with that logic and couple it with the HRM interpretation of Romans 7:4-6 (which is standard in the HRM beyond Staley’s teaching), then it must be okay to commit adultery since that’s a law you’ve died to, yes?

Well I certainly don’t believe that! Why? Because I died with Christ:

Galatians 2:20-21
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

The Scriptures tell us clearly that those in Christ have died to the Law — all of it.

In the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under Law (Galatians 5:18), which coincides to being dead to the Law. Not only that, but what does Romans 7:5, which is sandwiched in between verses 4 and 6, say?

Romans 7:5
5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

I like the idea of being dead to that which arouses our sinful passions! Because as one in Christ, I’m not looking for license to sin, rather for how to sin less and less. The Law does not show us how to accomplish that. The Scriptures say that in us, the Law actually stirs up sinful passions rather than to tamp down sinful passions (Romans 5:20, Romans 7:5-11, 1 Corinthians 15:56).

Living in Grace and by the Spirit does not leave us in a vacuum, floating about with no compass to guide us! Notice in Galatians 5:21 where it says, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

So how does righteousness come? Grace. (See Hebrew Roots Movement – Man’s Righteousness or God’s Righteousness? and Grace or Law? How Then, Shall We Live?, and also Parts 2 and 5 on this page for more on this topic.)

We also know from the Scriptures that the Fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-23) and that love, which does no harm to its neighbor fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10) because someone loving others is not murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bearing false witness, etc.

6 But 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.

So we see that in the New Covenant, Grace teaches us and the Spirit leads us (Titus 2:11-14, Galatians 5:18-26). The Fruit of that is Love, which fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10). These are foundational Truths to the Gospel that bear repeating in the face of false teaching.

The balance of the article excerpted above can be read here:  Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement  –  An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley

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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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Released/Delivered From the Law and Christ is the End of the Law – Getting Greeky About Romans 7, 10, and Ephesians 2

This is a post adapted from a Facebook post at the JGIG Facebook page.  Periodically, I do an ‘Exercise in Discernment’ post on the JGIG Facebook page, and since not everyone is on Facebook (shocking, I know, ha!), I’ve adapted the post here for reference.  Edited and expanded with formatting and links for this venue.

Exercise in Discernment

(Pay special attention to the G2673 – katargeō portion; I had never seen this before!  Very cool!)

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Rhonda, on another [Facebook] page, wrote,

HRH, can you not understand Col 2:16-17? Verses 8,14,20,22, ‘…tradition of men, rudiments of the world, ordinances that was against us, commandments and doctrines of men…’ Do you know the difference between commandments of God and commandments of men?”

What was blotted out and nailed to the cross?  What stood against us?  Convicting us in the sight of God?

SIN.  Law Keepers assert that Christ merely nailed human traditions (Rabbinic laws) added to the Law or just the curses in the Law to the Cross. Jesus accomplished so much more than that.

It was our sin and the Law that was nailed to the Cross, not just man’s additions to or the curses in the Law.

A Hebrew Christian friend of mine wrote this:

“The LOM [Law of Moses] did NOT die on the cross, Jesus did, and through HIS death on our behalf, all believers have DIED as well — The LOM is NOT dead, but WE are DEAD to IT (a crucial distinction) … It is our SINS which Jesus took upon His own head on the cross when He became SIN for us (He did NOT become the LOM) — I think that is a pivotal point to keep in the forefront of our thinking as we read this passage & others relating to it … WHAT is REMOVED in Col.2:11 ???  NOT the LOM (!!!) but our body of flesh, our body of dead works, our body of SIN … The decrees certified against us in verse 14 have been CANCELLED out and taken away (Because our Transgressions were forgiven, having been Nailed to the Cross in HIS Body) and the charges have been dropped against US since they were levied upon Jesus (in our stead) who PAID our DEBT BOND, He Himself being the Surety Forfeited because of our DEFAULT.”

Seeing that human traditions (commandments and doctrines of man) carry no authority to convict man in God’s sight and sin (transgression of God’s Law) does, it could not be just human traditions or only the curses in the Law that were nailed to the Cross.

That assertion simply fails in light of the facts and the context.

Once sin is washed away, the Law is done with us . . . it has led us to the Cross (Galatians 3) and there we become a New Creation!  We are the very righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)!  We no longer have the same relationship with the Law as we did before the work of Christ in our lives!

Colossians 2:9-15
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.  11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.  Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having >>> canceled G1813 – exaleiphō <<< the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Ephesians 2:14-16
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having >>> abolished G2673 – katargeō <<< in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

The Law IS abolished for those IN CHRIST.

Christ IS the end of the Law for righteousness for all who believe (Romans 10:4)!

Oh My!  I just checked this out . . . this is so cool . . . now it gets really interesting . . .

Romans 7:4-6
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.  6 But now we have been >>> delivered G2673 – katargeō <<< from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

G2673 – katargeō is translated as both ‘abolished’ in Eph. 2:15 and as ‘delivered’ in Rom. 7:6.

Here’s the definition:

G2673 – katargeō

1) to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative

a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
b) to deprive of force, influence, power

2) to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish

a) to cease, to pass away, be done away
b) to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
c) to terminate all intercourse with one

That’s talkin’ about the Law for those in Christ, folks!

The Law, for those in Christ, is these things:

➞ idle

➞ unemployed

➞ inactive (!!!)

➞ inoperative (!!!)

➞ to cause a person to have no further efficiency

➞ to deprive of force, influence, power (!!!)

➞ to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish (!!!)

➞ to cease, to pass away, be done away (!!!)

➞ to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one (!!!)

➞ to terminate all intercourse with one (!!!)

Rhonda also wrote,

“Rom 10:4 For Christ is the AIM of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. He showed us how it’s done! τέλος is the same word for end, aim, eternal, purpose. Isn’t it amazing how one little word can change the entire sentence? [Isn’t it though?!] You can go with ‘end’, but that will give you the translation that lawless ppl like the most. If you go with ‘aim’, it harmonizes with all of scripture. What translation do you prefer?”

I prefer the translation that is supported by both the original language (in this case, Greek) and by context.

Note this about Rhonda’s approach:  She’s attempting to ‘harmonize’ a New Covenant Scripture by subjecting the New Covenant to the Old Covenant.  The Scriptures are clear:  The New Covenant is a better Covenant built on better promises (Hebrews chapters 4-10).  We are NOT to subject the New to the Old!  It’s folly to subject the superior to the inferior:

Hebrews 7:18-19
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

It brings another perspective to Galatians 5:4 where Paul says,

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

If they’re truly saved, it doesn’t mean that they’ve lost they’re salvation, but that they are making Christ of no effect to themselves in THIS life.  They’re choosing to live by the Law instead of by Grace.  They have fallen from Grace – from the higher reality in the New Covenant of Christ, to the shadows of the Old Covenant in Moses.  Paul also says in Galatians 2:18:

For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

Who makes who a transgressor?  The one who goes back under the Law or God?  When believers put *themselves* back under the Law, *they* are counting their transgressions against themselves.

In Christ, God isn’t counting their transgressions against them:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

They FEEL all the condemnation and guilt that the Law brings, because that’s what the Law was designed to do, and they’ve put themselves back under it!  But that’s in this life – if they are believers they have been made perfect forever in Christ – that does not change (Hebrews 10).  Foolishness, even rooted in devotion or pride does not change the Work of Christ.  Dear believer, if you have put yourself back under the Law, come back to Grace and to the ‘freedom for which Christ has made you free’!

Back to the Romans 10 passage with a bit of context:

Romans 10:1-4
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.  2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  3 For they being ignorant of >>> God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, <<< have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  4 For Christ is the >>> end G5056 – telos <<< of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

First, to deal with Christ as the end of the Law:

G5056 – telos

1) end

a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
b) the end

1) the last in any succession or series
2) eternal

c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose

2) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods)

End, in this case, simply means end.

End of the Law for those in Christ.

A simple translation for the linguist guys.

But the HRM has to take meaning ‘1d’ to try to force a meaning into the text.  Even then, their attempt falls short, as the Law points to Christ:

>>>>>>>>>> . . . He . . . Christ . . . <<<<<<<<

. . . is the end (the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose) of the Law, not the Law is the end of Christ!

The Law points to Christ, Christ does not point to the Law!

For those in Christ, the Law is abolished, and those in Christ
are released from the Law, having died to it!
(Rom. 10:4, Rom. 7:1-6, Eph. 2, Col. 2)

The second point I wish to make here is that the righteousness that is in Christ – the righteousness we receive – is the very righteousness of God. God’s righteousness is the righteousness that is provided in Christ for all who believe! (Romans 5, 2 Corinthians 5)

The only ‘righteousness’ you could ever hope for through the Law is your own (‘and seeking to establish their own righteousness’, from Romans 10, above), and that would require your perfect obedience, all the time, zero mistakes, which is an impossibility.

God offers you HIS Righteousness!

In Christ!

By Grace!

Through Faith! (Ephesians 2)

Why?

To demonstrate God’s Righteousness! \o/

I hope this short study has helped you to sort out some of the common Scriptures that those in Law-keeping sects try to use to support the keeping of Old Covenant Law.  As one digs deeper and really examines the language and context of the Scriptures, the simple Truths of the New Covenant become clearer and clearer – and Christ Jesus becomes more and more exalted, not only as our Sweet Saviour and Lord, but also as our Perfect High Priest, in Whom we can always do this:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (from Hebrews 4)

Please also note that it is not through Law that we draw near to God, but by His Grace, faith in His Death and Resurrection, His Free Gifts of Righteousness and New Life, and His Perfect High Priesthood in the New Covenant, by which we draw near to God.

Grace and peace to you!
-JGIG

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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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What About ‘Hyper-Grace’???

What About ‘Hyper-Grace’???

Over the past year or so (starting in 2013), a manufactured label, ‘Hyper-Grace’, has been made popular and applied to the Gospel of Grace.  Personally, I embrace the term, because in my opinion, the Living God coming to Earth as a man to die for our sin and bear the judgement due us, and then to give those who believe the gift of Righteousness and New Life in order to reconcile us to Himself is a pretty Hyper Grace!

That aside, not all believers embrace the term, and many are uncomfortable with the concept of pure Grace.  Rather those who mix Law and Grace use the term as a derogatory label, on which they pile false accusations about what the Gospel of Grace is and how those who walk in Grace live their lives.oh no!

A main instigator in applying the Hyper-Grace label to Grace-embracing believers is Dr. Michael Brown.  Understand that Dr. Brown is a respected theologian, and many take what he says quite seriously, seeing him as a credible source sounding a valid alarm – “Christians are seeing Grace as a license to sin!”, “Hyper-Grace teachings are leading to ‘grace horror stories!’” and the hyperbolic like.

You can do a search with Dr. Brown’s name and ‘Hyper-Grace’ and get a number of video teachings and interviews that he’s done on the subject, as well as an assortment of articles regarding the Hyper-Grace label/concept.  Note the ‘tabloidesque’ flavor to his interviews with Sid Roth, and the unbridled discussion about how this ‘hyper-grace’ can (and in their opinion does) lead to the loss of salvation.

How do you avoid losing your salvation?

By not sinning, of course!

How do you keep from sinning?

By keeping laws/commandments/rules . . . whatever the circle of like-minded folks you surround yourself with deems appropriate as the Biblical standard.

And if you do sin?

Repeated confession and repentance to God for sins that, according to their theology, God will hold against you if you don’t!

This of course, is contrary to contextual Scriptures (John 3:16-18,  Romans 5, 2 Corinthians 5:18-191 John 1:9, 1 John 2:1-2 for starters).

Many of the resources available on the Audio and Text Resources page here at JGIG refute the ‘Hyper-Grace’ hype, giving a Biblical defense for the Gospel of Grace.

Rob Rufus actually recorded a teaching entitled, ‘A Biblical Defense of the Gospel of Grace‘ several years before Dr. Brown made the ‘Hyper-Grace’ label popular.  A video version of the teaching can be viewed, as well:

Paul Ellis, author at the site, Escape to Reality, author of The Gospel in Ten Words, and The Gospel in Twenty Questions (links also in the left sidebar below), took the issue head on in “Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace” – a response to Michael Brown, which garnered a few hundred comments in a good, lively discussion.  One more (of many) good articles found at his site in line with what we’re discussing here: Confession, Conviction, Confusion!

hyper graceWhen Dr. Brown’s book on ‘Hyper-Grace’ came out, D.R. Silva put together a good resource rebutting the common arguments against Grace.  Silva builds a solid defense for the Gospel of Grace in about 68 pages, whereas Brown’s book spends 304 pages trying to refute the Gospel of Grace and expound on its ‘dangers’.

D.R. Silva does reference Dr. Brown in his book, but I think it’s important to note that Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God is not primarily a refutation of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message (dangerous stuff, that Grace of God!!!), but rather a Biblical defense of the Grace position, taking on the common arguments/accusations leveled by those who mischaracterize the Grace position.

‘Grace is good, But . . . !’ should have been the title for Dr. Brown’s book.  A good audio by Rob Rufus, a teaching recorded several years ago, is available with a similar title:  Grace is Good – No Buts!

Edited to add 4/7/14:

Paul Ellis has published a book entitled, “The Hyper-Grace Gospel: A Response to Michael Brown and Those Opposed to thehyper-grace-gospel Modern Grace Message“, where he also provides an outline of the content, which systematically addresses the false perceptions of the Gospel of Grace as well as responds to specific assertions made by Dr. Brown.  Ellis puts together a definitive, clear presentation first and foremost of the Gospel of Grace.  Highly recommended:

A good video review of D.R. Silva’s book can be found here: Book Review “Hyper Grace – the Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God

So if someone warns you of the ‘dangers’ of ‘Hyper-Grace’, the Audio and Text Resources, Video Resources, and The Gospel pages have lots of materials to support the Biblical Gospel of Grace, and this article has given you a few specific resources (click on the embedded links!) to help you defend the Gospel of Grace with confidence and good humor.  [Added 5/4/14 – And more good humor.]

And Grace \o/..

grace is hyper

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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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Other articles of interest:

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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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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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Hebrew Roots Movement – The Bereans

Those in the Hebrew Roots Movement like to tell Christians that they should ‘be like the Bereans’, who had ‘only the Torah’ by which to measure what Paul taught.  But what was it that Paul was teaching the Bereans that they were checking against the Scriptures that they had at the time?

Torah folk would have you believe that the Bereans were checking to see if the doctrines that Paul was teaching to those in Christ were against Torah.  But is doctrine what Paul was actually teaching the Bereans according to Acts 17, the only place the Bereans are mentioned in the Scriptures?

Acts 17:2-3
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said.

As was to become a common occurrence, the Jews began to stir up trouble against Paul because of his preaching about Christ Jesus.  Paul and his party were driven away, and sent by brothers in Thessalonica to Berea.

Acts 17:10-11
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Again, what was the message that Paul was bringing to them at that point? 

Paul was explaining and proving from the Scriptures that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead:  “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said.

The Bereans were determining from the Scriptures – the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings – whether or not Jesus was Who Paul said He was.

Acts 17:12
12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

After measuring what Paul told them about Jesus, many put their faith and trust in Christ.

For those who put their faith and trust in Christ, how they live is not determined by the Old Covenant, but determined by the New Covenant because of who they are in Christ – His Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and the imparting of His Holy Spirit.  While not contradicting in any way the Old Covenant, the New Covenant teachings written to the Body of Christ after Pentecost were not all-inclusive of the instructions given to Moses at Sinai.

2 Corinthians 3
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He 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.

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Galatians 5:13-26
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Romans 13:8-14
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Does that mean that we don’t need to be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to test what we are being taught?

Of course not!  We are told to

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

We have the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, AND the Scriptures written after Pentecost – given to the Body of Christ for Her instruction, exhortation, and edification!

After instructing His disciples regarding keeping His commandments to love one another in John 15, Jesus went on to say this:

John 16:12-15
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

And the Holy Spirit did just that.  After the completed Work of Christ He revealed through the Apostles what life in Christ should look like, giving to the Body of Christ the New Covenant Scriptures through His Apostles during their ministries.  Letters written by the Apostles were copied and distributed amongst the local churches, the fledgling Body of Christ.

So many manuscripts survived over time because so many copies were made and distributed – recognized as Scripture by fellow Apostles and by the early Body of Christ.  Within one generation of Apostolic teaching, early Church Fathers, in their own writings, cited as authoritative every New Testament book that we have today. (From “Council of Nicaea Myth Debunked” on JGIG’s YouTube Recommendations list.)

There is also evidence from within the New Testament itself that Apostolic writings and the Gospels were considered to be Scripture in the early Body of Christ.  Referring to Paul’s writings, Peter wrote this, indicating that Paul’s letters were considered to be Scripture:

2 Peter 3:14-16
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

On the flip side, in Paul’s letters, which we see from the above passage were considered to be inspired Scripture, he also quotes from the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus and His Work in several of those letters.  In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul quotes both the book of Deuteronomy and Luke’s Gospel, referring to both of them as Scripture:

1 Timothy 5:18
18For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

So we can see that the early Body of Christ DID have writings written after Pentecost, which WERE considered to be Scripture at the time, and those writings WERE available to them during in the first century!

Not only that, but the Spirit of God became active in the lives of all believers in Christ, imparting gifts for areas of service in which they could function as part of the now-established Body of Christ – the Church:

Ephesians 1:22-23
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 3:10-21
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

So if  you are ever encouraged to ‘be like a Berean’ by someone in the Hebrew Roots Movement or other Law ‘keeping’ sect, be sure to take the WHOLE counsel of Scripture into account.  Keep in clear view who you are in Christ according to the New Covenant Scriptures written to the Body of Christ – the Church – after Pentecost.

Watch a somewhat condensed video version of this post here:

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

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Other articles of interest:

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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 Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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Happy Resurrection Day! \o/

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Blessings to all as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!

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He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

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Is Law Really Law Without Enforcement?

In discussions with those in Law keeping sects, there is one question that has kept coming up for me:  How can Law be law without enforcement?  You can’t have Law without enforcement. You can’t have enforcement without punishment. Those components go hand in hand.  All this talk about ‘keeping’ the Law . . . where are the Law ‘keepers’ who are keeping up the enforcement/punishment aspects of the Law?  Why are we not hearing about stonings and puttings out of the camp from these people?  Is law really law without enforcement? 

Let me be clear that I’m not talking about people who like to celebrate the Feasts, have found keeping a seventh-day Sabbath to be a blessing, or eat Biblically because they feel it’s healthier to do so.  I’m talking about those who believe and teach that observing Mosaic Covenant Law is mandatory for all believers, and once you become aware of that, if you don’t obey, you are in willful disobedience to God and at the very least will be the ‘least in the Kingdom’ and at worst will be utterly cast out.

“Oh, enforcement is not an issue because we ‘do’ the Law out of our love for God and want to honor Him”, the Law ‘keepers’ will say, as they commit their lives to Torah pursuance.  In reality, those in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism streams of thought  pick and choose which laws they follow.  They call this practice being ‘Torah pursuant’ – doing what they can as they feel ‘led’.  Some even claim they are like Israel in exile and so do only what they can, as the Temple and Priesthood are not presently in effect.

So God has given a Law that is still to be followed – jot and tittle – just not the parts that punish?  Those who ‘keep’ the Law base most of their doctrine that believers in Christ are to keep Mosaic Covenant Law on the Matthew 5:17-20 passage that says:

Matthew 5:17-20
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

As I wrote in the previous post, taking that passage in isolation, one could make a case for the mandatory keeping of Mosaic Covenant Law for believers, because, as anyone in a Law keeping sect worth their salt will tell you, you can plainly see that the earth is still here, isn’t it?  And looking around Shifty, you would have to agree, that yes indeed, the earth has not disappeared.  Well that settles it then!  The Law is for believers today!  And to be called great in the kingdom of heaven, you must teach these commands to others. 

That conclusion, however, takes leaps over information about events that had not yet happened (the Cross, Resurrection and Ascension, implementing the New Covenant in Christ) and inspired Scriptures written to the Body of Christ which did not yet exist.  (Please see “The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended” for the complete post, which explores whether or not believers are indeed still under the Law.)

So, according to those in Law keeping sects, the Law (jot and tittle) MUST be followed – EXCEPT for the part that makes it potent – but that’s because it was just the curse of the Law that was nailed to the Cross . . . no wait . . . that was just the oral traditions of men that was nailed . . . no . . . it had to be the curses, didn’t it?  But aren’t the curses/punishment part of the jots and tittles . . . oh wait . . . what to do with those since the jots and tittles are still there . . . Law is still to be followed . . . jots and tittles because, well, the Earth IS still here, maybe all except for the curse jot and tittles is to be kept . . . . maybe that part of the Law doesn’t have jots and tittles . . . .Unsure??

‘Round and ’round the alleged reasoning goes, but all of the arguments supporting Law ‘keeping’ cannot be argued at the same time or the really huge inconsistencies start showing themselves.

Impotent Law ‘Keeping’
The ‘Law’ that those in Law keeping sects ‘keep’ is impotent. It is not at all THE Law as it was given to Moses.  And those who mandate the keeping of Mosaic Covenant Law insult both the Law which after the Cross leads us to Christ, and the Blood of Christ, which frees us from sin.

One of the Law keepers’  main points of persuasion is to tell us over and over again that “God does not change – and neither does His Law!”, yet they totally toss the penalty portion of the Law as they attempt to ‘keep’ the Law.

To follow that way of thinking not only cheapens the Law and the Holiness of God, but also devalues the amazing Grace that God extends to us in the Gospel.

Galatians 3:10
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

God does not require pursuance of the Law – He requires complete obedience to the whole Law. If it were only pursuance that He required, Jesus would not have needed to come and do the work of the Cross, would He?  The Scriptures are full of accounts of pursuance of and failure to keep the Law.  And, if I may point out the obvious – there is no longer a Temple or Priesthood.  Some really important parts of the Law are to be carried out by the Priests in the Temple.  Why do you think that God has ordained that those things no longer exist?

Consequenses:  Old Covenant vs. New Covenant
Is Law Keeping required of believers in Messiah or not?  Clearly there are plenty of instructions in the New Testament to the Body of Christ as to how God expects her to behave, but is she instructed to keep the regulations, edicts, and ceremonial aspects of God’s Law given through Moses?  If so, where is that instruction to the Body of Christ, and who’s enforcing the consequences if those laws are violated? 

Where is the evidence in the Scriptures written to the Body of Christ for the structure and authority to deal with disobedience to the Law?  There must be documentation of those being held to account for disobeying the Law if first century believers were subject to the Law, mustn’t there?  Even if, as those who are Torah pursuant will assert, first century believers saw Law keeping as the norm, are we to believe that there was 100% compliance and that enforcement/consequenses for disobeying the Law was not an issue and therefore not documented?

I can’t think of any leadership structure in place in the fledgling Church that dealt with such disobedience.  I can’t think of one stoning documented (carried out by the Body of Christ). Yet Old Covenant Law is clear in the penalties for various sinful acts:

Leviticus 20:11
11If a man sleeps with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Under the New Covenant? Let’s look at 1 Corithians 5:

1 Corithians 5:1-13
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 6hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

6Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore 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.

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Death under the Law (Old Covenant). Expulsion under Grace (New Covenant). For the same transgression. Clearly there is a difference in the administration of discipline (consequence) for one’s actions under the New Covenant. 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

The fine line between having good judgement and judging. God, in His grace and mercy for the Body of Christ, does not require her to carry out the punishment for transgression – He instructs her to separate evil from the Body and then HE will deal with it. And in His grace and mercy He leads the willing heart back into the Body.

“But Yeshua nailed the penalty of the Law to the Cross, not the Law itself!” is another assertion I hear from Law keepers, typically followed by “YHWH is patient with us as we learn His ways” or something similar. Yet I find no contextual Scriptures to support such statements.  They just aren’t there.  Read carefully and in context any Scriptures that they give you to try to convince you of the above.

What about another type of transgression, such as not keeping a seventh day Sabbath? The issue is not one of morality if one worships on the first day vs. the seventh day vs. any other day; it’s an edict:

Exodus 35:1-3
1Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: 2For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. 3Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

Wow. That’s pretty clear. No pursuance there. It’s ‘DO AS INSTRUCTED or DIE.’

And there are more regulations, edicts, Sabbaths, Feasts, and New Moons from the Old Covenant Scriptures, none of which are reinforced in the New Covenant Scriptures, nor are there any instances of discipline for those in the Body of Christ who did not abide by such things, either by the putting out of fellowship or by punishments as carried out under the Old Covenant. In fact, Romans 14 deals with such issues in depth regarding how those with differences in conscience about such things should live in deference to each other.  If obedience to Old Covenant Law were considered the norm in the early Church, the letter to the Romans would have a considerably different flavor!

Only two ceremonial edicts – Baptism and the remembrance of the beginning of the New Covenant (what is typically known as ‘The Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Communion’) are commanded to the Body of Christ.  The rest of the instructions to the Body of Christ are matters of morality, service to others, and issues of character and of the heart.

What does Scripture say the purpose/function of the Law is now that Christ has come?

Galatians 3:23-25
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Those in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism camp, however, insist that the regulations and edicts of the Laws given at Sinai are applicable to the Body of Christ today – that those are the things that set us apart from the world and identify us as God’s own.  Again, I come to the question that if that’s really the case, then where is the authority structure in the Body of Christ detailed in the New Testament to deal with disobedience?

If you, as a believer dare to ask such questions and hold to the belief that we as believers are under the New Covenant, well, look out! You will all of a sudden be labled an Antinomian and a practitioner of all manners of the worst sins the Law ‘keeper’ can think of. Funny how those who strive under the Law automatically assign some of the more vile sins to those of us who don’t keep the edicts and regulations of the Law. Don’t get me wrong, sin is sin, but let’s face it – lying about your age doesn’t carry the social stigma that murder or sexual sin does. Yet those ‘bad’ sins are the behaviors that Law ‘keepers’ seek to tack on to us ‘Law-less’ Christians.

Here’s another angle that Law ‘keepers’ will come with:  That Christians have faith in grace and base their behavior on that belief.  That it is grace that we rely on, and that our actions are Law-less because we believe that grace will cover us, no matter what we do.

To set the record straight – Believers in Christ have faith in Jesus Christ, not in grace. HE is our Rock. HE is our Redeemer. HE is our Righteousness. His Holy Spirit indwells us and as imperfect as we are this side of eternity, we, with His Holy Spirit, are able to walk in love for God and love for others. Does God require that we walk in Torah to show Him that we love Him? No.  He requires that we love others as He loves them (The Law of Christ) . THAT is how we demonstrate that we love Him . . . not by keeping this Feast or that edict or Feast Days.  The Law was/is a tool to point mankind TO CHRIST, not as an instruction book to walk IN CHRIST.

James 2:8-11
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

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

A plain reading through the Scriptures written to the Body of Christ will clearly reveal that as believers, we are not permitted to go ’round sinning willy nilly and doing whatever we want.  The heart given to Christ will not want to do that!

What does the Law ‘Require’?
An interesting set of questions crossed my path a while back from a Law ‘keeper’ regarding the motivation(s) for keeping the Law. Let me just focus on two of those questions here.

The Law ‘keeper’ in the discourse said that the word ‘required’ used by someone like me (who challenges them about the Body of Christ being required to ‘keep’ the Law) implies that one be motivated by an ‘or else’.  They asked, “So what’s the motivation, and what’s the ‘or else’?” 

Interesting question.  

Thanks, by the way, as you are the one who set me on this whole course of inquiry.   Another person in the discourse said, “my Webster’s Dictionary didn’t say anything about ‘motivation’ in the definition of ‘required’.”

So I did some looking up of my own.  I find word studies to be tedious, but find value in them nonetheless, so bear with me.  Here’s what I found:

Required:
transitive verb
1 a: to claim or ask for by right and authority barchaic : request
2 a: to call for as suitable or appropriate <the occasion requires formal dress> b: to demand as necessary or essential : have a compelling need for <all living beings require food>
3: to impose a compulsion or command on : compel
4chiefly British : to feel or be obliged

Required is a pretty strong word, but it is not what God says. He didn’t give us requirements, He gave us Commandments.  Note the progression:

Commandment:
1. A command; an edict.
2. Bible One of the Ten Commandments.

Edict:
1. A decree or proclamation issued by an authority and having the force of law.
2. A formal pronouncement or command.

God’s Law is not just required, it’s commanded, decreed, issued by an Authority and having the force of law.

Law:
1 a (1): a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority (2): the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules (3): common law

b (1): the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law (2): the action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs ; also : litigation (3): the agency of or an agent of established law c: a rule or order that it is advisable or obligatory to observe d: something compatible with or enforceable by established law e: control , authority

2 often capitalized : the revelation of the will of God set forth in the Old Testament capitalized : the first part of the Jewish scriptures : pentateuch , torah — see bible table

With law there is authority and enforcement.

Enforce:
1. To compel observance of or obedience to: enforce a law.
2. To impose (a kind of behavior, for example): enforce military discipline.
3. To give force to; reinforce: “enforces its plea with a description of the pains of hell” Albert C. Baugh.

Compel:
1. To force, drive, or constrain:
2. To necessitate or pressure by force; exact: . See Synonyms at force.
3. To exert a strong, irresistible force on; sway:

Impose:
1. To establish or apply as compulsory; levy: impose a tax.
2. To apply or make prevail by or as if by authority: impose a peace settlement. See Synonyms at dictate.
3. To obtrude or force (oneself, for example) on another or others.

Dictate:
a. To prescribe with authority; impose: dictated the rules of the game.
b. To control or command

Optional does not seem to be a part of any of the above, does it?  So there we have the answer to the motivation for those under the Law to keep the Law.  It falls under ‘because God said so’!  What about the ‘or else’?

Under the Old Covenant, certain laws applied to certain people (encompassing all Israelites, then sub-groups such as male, female, priests, for example).

These laws were not optional.  Of the laws that applied to you, you had to do ALL of them. To not do them required atoning sacrifice or was punishable by expulsion from the community of Israel or by death, each offense punishable as was called for in the Law.  Then there were all the purification laws.  Even if, as Law ‘keepers’ assert, Jesus nailed only the curse of the Law (spiritual separation from God) to the Cross, do not those who break the Law still deserve death for certain offenses (since we’re all going to die anyway, should the Lord tarry) if that is the punishment that is called for under the Law?  Jots and tittles . . .

But Isn’t it Right to Keep The Law?
The next question the Law ‘keeper’ asked was, “Where do we find God’s laws and is it right to do any of them?”   How does one answer that question, phrased as it is, without obligating one’s self to the keeping of the Law?  Reminds me of the Catch-22 question, “Have you quit beating your wife yet?”  Sometimes it is not the answer which is incorrect, but the question.

Their question, in the Law-keeping context, was designed to point one to the the Covenant given at Sinai, not to point one to the Covenant forged in the Blood of Christ.  And one not suspecting where they’re being steered would answer, “We find those laws in the OT, and of course it is right to obey [any of] them.”     

The hook is in. 

What now?  If you’re the one who just answered the question above about the Law, you now are wondering, “Hmmm . . . IS Mosaic Covenant Law something I should be keeping??

And What if You Don’t?
Most Law Keepers say that keeping the Law is not required for salvation and that we should keep the Law because we love God and want to please Him, that obeying the Law is a matter of doing, not merely believing. 

This bears repeating here:  If Israel broke any part of the Law, there was punishment – payable by atoning sacrifice, expulsion from Israel or death.  And that’s not including the purification/separation laws for women during/after their monthly cycles and childbirth, or the men who touched them or purification rituals for other ‘offenses’ such as touching a dead body (necessary for burial).  Folks forget about all that the Law entails.  It’s far more encompassing than keeping the Appointed Feasts, the Sabbaths, New Moons, and dietary laws.

With that in mind, does that mean that we can lose our salvation for not obeying Mosaic Covenant Law?  And can we get it back again if we start ‘keeping’ the Law?  If we actually ‘become Israel’, as many Law ‘keepers’ claim, and we fail to keep Mosaic Covenant Law, are we then expelled from the community of believers or worse yet, is spiritual death re-imposed on us as Law breakers?

What do the Scriptures written to the Body of Christ have to say about such things?  Can you think of any Scriptures that tell us that we are no longer a part of the Body of Christ if we don’t ‘keep’ the Law?  Or that we are a part of the Body of Christ if we do ‘keep’ the Law?  Is that what Scripture teaches us?

You can’t have Law without enforcement. You can’t have enforcement without punishment. Those components go hand in hand.

One needs to first determine what law one is under before one determines to ‘do’ it.

Which Law Makes More Sense?
In the era of the completed work of Christ, are believers under the Covenant given to Moses at Sinai, or under the New Covenant enacted by the Blood of Christ?

The view that Old Covenant Feasts and practices are still mandated makes no sense at all considering that those things were designed to point to Christ and provide for atonement for sin until Christ did the work of the Cross.  Christ has come!  He is the reality of what the Feasts foreshadowed.  He was the FINAL sacrifice.  There are some events that still need to play out, historically, but the work is done. It is finished!

One cannot pick and choose which laws from Mosaic Covenant Law they will follow . . . THE Law is a package deal.  You must do everything that applies to you or you do none of it:

James 2:10
10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 

In addition to the prophecies and foreshadowing that the Law provides pointing to Messiah, it is the realization of our inability to keep the Law that drives us to Messiah!  No one has ever kept the Law perfectly, except Jesus, of course!  It is when we come to the end of ourselves, realizing that we are utterly incapable of perfection and having relationship with God outside of Christ that the Law has completed its mission:

Romans 3:21-24
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Christ commanded us to love God, love others, and to go out in to all the world and make disciples among every tribe and nation. Going back to Mosaic Covenant Law doesn’t spread God’s love and the Gospel to the nations, it isolates and erroneously turns one’s heart toward self and the duties one must perform to be pleasing to God.  What He really desires is for us to love those around us and share the Life for which He paid so dear a price, bringing precious souls into relationship with Him.

And the New Covenant did bring new life, not just a ‘renewed’ covenantal system.  All throughout the Gospels Jesus Christ repeatedly demonstrated and administered grace and mercy, love and forgiveness, even life itself, with His authority as God in the flesh as He walked amongst mankind before the work of the Cross.  Jesus spoke in parables to shake loose those Hebraic minds from the confines of the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant. He never denied the foundation nor the purpose of the Law – He was fulfilling it.

John 15:9-17
9″As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.”

The Law of Christ is not Mosaic Covenant Law reinforced. The Law of Christ is the whole of Scripture in the context of the New Covenant, forged in the Blood of Christ via the work of the Cross.  It is the fulfilling of the Promise given to mankind at the Fall, changing the hearts of those who believe on Jesus Christ and making them a New Creation, and that demonstrated by the bearing of fruit according to the Spirit, not the performance of works according to the Law.

Where Law ‘keepers’ view the whole of Scripture through the lens of Torah, redeemed believers free from the Law view the whole of Scripture through the lens of the completed work of Christ.  It’s the Gospel.  The Gospel reaches across cultural boundaries where the Law of Moses could not. That’s how Jesus could tell us to love God, love others, and go out into all the world to make disciples from all nations.  His love and the Gospel translate to all cultures, not just Israel. That’s the Law of Christ.

Does Christ in Us Promote Sin?
I’ve been told that if I am not obeying the edicts of Torah that I am practicing Lawlessness.  What does Scripture have to say?

Galatians 2:11-21
11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15″We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

17″If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Under the New Covenant we are called to much loftier things that observing feasts and days or the carrying out of edicts or avoidance of certain foods:

Galatians 5
1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Watch for the Fruit Produced by Those in Law ‘keeping’ Sects 
According to this list, there are 210 verses that refer to false prophets, priests, elders and Pharisees.  Here is a summary of their content:

  • 99 verses (47%) concern Behavior
  • 66 verses (31%) concern Fruit
  • 24 verses (12%) concern Motives
  • 21 verses (10%) concern Doctrine

Is it any wonder that Jesus exhorted us to therefore:

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

Fruit is fruit, and sooner or later, it identifies with the vine from which it comes, no matter the shine one tries to put on it!

And finally, Hebrews 10 sums up the whole issue so well:

Hebrews 10
1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.  3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.

7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.’ “

8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).

9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16″This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.

38But my righteous one will live by faith.  And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”

39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

This struck me just now as I re-read this passage:

He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

According to Hebrews 10, we are made holy (set apart), righteous, sanctified, purified – ALL through Christ!  The Law has nothing to do with us as believers!

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

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See also:  The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended
                    The Hebrew Roots Movement: So What?
                    Romans 14: Indisputable Matters – Torah or the Gospel?
                    Hebrew Roots Movement – Salesmanship 101 
                    Hebrew Roots Movement – New or “Renewed” Covenant?

Hebrew Roots Movement – The Redefinition of Terms 3 (M-Z)

If you haven’t already, please read the Glossary Intro  first.  Thanks!

Messianic Judaism/Christianity The term “Messianic” is generally known to describe  Jews who have come to believe ingrafted_in_lg Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah.  Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish Christians or simply, Christians.    

Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish.  Most aren’t Jewish at all, but Gentile Christians who have chosen to adopt Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics.  It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism then they do with the tenets of Christianity.  Many reject the label of Christianity altogether and some even eventually convert to Judaism.  

Messianic Judaism, when objectively defined, is an oxymoron.  “Messianic” implies that one believes in Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as the Messiah, while “Judaism”, by definition, rejects Jesus Christ as Messiah at its core.    

The contradictions start there and carry on throughout the belief system.   

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Midrash  Following is an actual quote from a Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism adherent who was justifying using Midrash with which to interpret Scripture:  

Well, here’s the passage Paul was quoting …. kinda.  He was doing a d’rash on it.  

My response:
So let’s get this straight . . . you’re developing doctrine based on what you say Paul was “kinda quoting” and you claim that he was doing a “d’rash” on it?  

The weakness of the “kinda quoting” bit is obvious, but for the benefit of the reader, let’s look at what is a “d’rash”, short for “Midrash” . . .  

For the full post here at JGIG, see Hebrew Roots Movement – The Use of Midrash.  

From Faqs.org
Midrash minimizes the authority of the wording of the text as communication, normal language. It places the focus on the reader and the personal struggle of the reader to reach an acceptable moral application of the text. While it is always governed by the wording of the text, it allows for the reader to project his or her inner struggle into the text. This allows for some very powerful and moving interpretations which, to the ordinary user of language, seem to have very little connection with the text. The great weakness of this method is that it always threatens to replace the text with an outpouring of personal reflection. At its best it requires the presence of mystical insight not given to all readers.  

bragg-midrashFrom Wikipedia:
Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎; plural midrashim, lit. “to investigate” or “study”) is a Hebrew term referring to the not exact, but comparative (homiletic) method of exegesis (hermeneutic) of Biblical texts, which is one of four methods cumulatively called Pardes. The term midrash can also refer to a compilation of homiletic teachings (commentaries) on the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), in the form of legal and ritual (Halakhah) and legendary, moralizing, folkloristic, and anecdotal (Aggadah) parts.   

What is PaRDeS?  Also from Wikipedia:
The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of these four approaches, which are:

  • Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — “plain” (“simple”) or the direct meaning.
  • Remez (רֶמֶז) — “hints” or the deep (allegoric) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
  • Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”) — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
  • Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in gold) — “secret” (“mystery”) or the mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a “hint” is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word.  

From My Jewish Learning:
Midrash: The Interpretive Tradition
Midrash is a tool of interpretation which assumes that every word, letter, and even stroke of the pen in the Torah has meaning. Midrash Aggadah focuses on biblical narratives, Midrash Halakhah interprets legal passages. In modern times, midrash can include any retellings, additions, or twists on Torah stories. 
 

From Jewish Virtual Library’s Glossary:
Midrash
(pl. midrashim). From darash, “to inquire,” whence it comes to mean “exposition” (of scripture). Refers to the “commentary” literature developed in classical Judaism that attempts to interpret Jewish scriptures in a thorough manner. Literary Midrash may focus either on halaka, directing the Jew to specific patterns of religious practice, or on (h)aggada, dealing with theological ideas, ethical teachings, popular philosophy, imaginative exposition, legend, allegory, animal fables—that is, whatever is not halaka
 

From VirtualReligion.net:
Midrash
Hebrew term for “Interpretation” or “Exposition.” The word generally used for any written or oral commentary on a biblical text. The original purpose of midrash was to resolve problems in the Hebrew text of the Bible. As early as the 1st c. CE rabbinic principles of hermeneutics & philology were used to bring the interpretation of difficult passages in the literal text of scripture into line with the religious & ethical values of the teachers. This method of interpretation was eventually expanded to provide scriptural pretexts to justify oral tradition.
Thus, midrash exposes the values & worldview of the rabbinic interpreter & audience rather than the original intention of the author of the biblical text.  

There are more definitions and a myriad of websites out there with “midrashic” points of view, but one gets the general idea from the references above.  

When one uses a “d’rash” as a lens to interpret Scripture through, it is clear that that person is seeking to mold Scripture to a predetermined opinion or belief system, not seeking to mold their opinion or belief system to what Scripture actually says.  

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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 communion26me.” (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.”  Jesus 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 uncircumcision of 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 around 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 – enabling us to obey both parts of the commandments (instructions) of Jesus – Love God, Love others, whatever the circumstance.

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

[A common assertion in the Hebrew Roots Movement is that the New Covenant is not ‘New’, but the ‘Re-newed’ covenant.  For and in depth language study of the Scriptures commonly used by the HRM to support their view, see this post:  Hebrew Roots Movement – New Covenant or “Renewed” Covenant?]

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(The) Prodigal Son I couldn’t resist putting this one down.  Click HERE for a Hebrew Roots interpretation of the parable of the Prodigal Son.  (Please use caution when reading any Hebrew Roots materials.)  Some of the metaphorical perversions:  The prodigal son is not sinful man, he is Christianity.  Repentance is not turning away from sin and toward God, it is turning toward Torah.  (See also Repent below.)  I’ve seen this parable used by several different HRM organizations to lure unwary Christians into a Torah lifestyle.   Quoted from the above link:  

The younger son (the Northern Kingdom, Ephraim/Christianity) spent his inheritance on riotous living (by departing from the Torah of the G-d of Israel) and went to a far country (the nations of the world) and was feeding on swine (a reference to not obeying the Torah)”.    

These are some specific liberties taken with the story (there are more, but frankly, I couldn’t stomach putting more here):  The labels given the younger son are not supported by the text, and a far country means anywhere but Israel.  The robe and ring that the father gives to the prodigal son in the HRM version is not a sign of authority and inheritance given to the son by the father, it is instead referred to as “wedding terminology”?!  Yuk.  And notice that the writer says that the prodigal was feeding on swine, when in fact the bible says that he was feeding the swine.  Gotta notch up that Torah rebellion to make this interpretation fit.  That particular author tends to make those subtle changes in text to change seemingly unimportant details in a text with which to frame his particular brand of HRM doctrine.  

What strikes me about the above is how Nationalism and Torah are central to the story of the Prodigal, not the realities of how we, as undeserving sinners, are embraced by a loving and forgiving Father, no matter what we’ve done.  Yes, the cultural implications of the text bring deeper and richer meaning to the parable, but redemption and forgiveness beyond our wildest expectations is the main thrust of the story, not the returning of the Body of Christ to a Torah lifestyle!  

There are about a zillion sermons that have been preached on the parable of the Prodigal Son . . . but in light of the HRM, one thing that jumps out at me is this:  The Prodigal comes back to the father broken and spent.  When he returns, his father knows that he has his son’s heart.  The firstborn, faithful to follow the rules and obey his father, finds it difficult to understand the grace extended to his brother.  Let me share with you the last part of an article (also available on the Articles Page) that says it so much better than I can [from “Law and Grace Exemplified” by C.H. Mackintosh]:  

But, oh! how could the prodigal think lightly of sin in the light of such extraordinary grace? Impossible. He was most effectually delivered from the power of sin by the grace which reigned in his reception, and in his position. It was truly such as to set sin before him in the most fearful colours. “Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Yes, God forbid. It cannot, it must not be, my reader. Grace has set us free — free not only from the penalty of sin, but free from its power — free fromprodigal-on-road its present dominion. Blessed freedom! The law gave sin power over the sinner; grace gives him power over it. The law revealed to the sinner his weakness; grace makes him acquainted with the strength of Christ, the law put the sinner under the curse, no matter who or what he was; grace introduces him into all the ineffable blessedness of the Father’s house — the Father’s bosom. The law elicited only the cry, “O, wretched man that I am!” grace enables him to sing triumphantly, “Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory. “These are important differences, and such as may well lead us into deep thankfulness for the truth that “we are not under the law, but under grace.”  

If anything were needed to prove that nothing but grace can form the basis of holy service, the spirit and bearing of the elder brother in our beautiful parable would most fully prove it. He thought he had ever been a very faithful servant, and his heart rebelled against the high position assigned to his younger brother. But, alas! he understood not the father’s heart. It was not the cold service of formalism or legalism that was needed, but the service of love — the service of one who felt he had been forgiven much — or rather those deep affections which flow from the sense of redeeming love. All practical Christianity is comprehended in that word of the apostle, viz., “We love Him because He first loved us.” God grant that we may all enter more into the sacred power of these simple, but most precious truths!   

While there are benefits to understanding the culture and original language  used in communicating the parable of the Prodigal Son, those benefits culminate in a deeper understanding of the grace of God toward sinful man, and do not in any way point to a ‘prodigal Church’ needing to return to Torah observance.   

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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 renewal of the lawsame 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 misuse of the original languages of Scripture.  See Hebrew Roots Movement – New Covenant or “Renewed” Covenant for an in-depth word study and solid refutation of the “renewed” Covenant position.  [Highly Recommended.]  

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Repent – Another one of the pillars in the Hebrew Roots Movement and related belief systems/sects, is their re-forgiven_repent2definition of the word ‘repent’ or ‘repentance’.  They skew the meaning of repent in order to point the unwary believer back to 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 regulations and edicts of a covenant no longer in effect.  

For a full article regarding the HRM/MJ perspective on repentance, see Hebrew Roots Movement – The Perversion of Repentance.  

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SabbathWith Torah pursuance comes the keeping of a seventh-day Sabbath, typically from sundown Friday to sundown on Saturday.  

However, as I researched the issue of the Sabbath, I discovered that within the Sabbath-keeping community itself there is division.  There are those that observe a simple seventh-day Sabbath (sundown Friday through sundown Saturday).  There are those that view Sunday as the NT Sabbath.  Then there are those that follow a lunar reckoning of the Sabbath.  The first time I became aware of this method was when someone from the mom’s digest recommended this site.  Check it out.  Check out this section at that site, in particular, addressing a geocentric vs. heliocentric view of the solar system (universe?).  No, seriously.   This is one of the more interesting sites that not only mandates keeping the Sabbath, but also mandates a lunar reckoning of the Sabbath.  If you visit HRM/MJ sites and blogs, you may notice that some of them have a lunar phase widget in their sidebars.  This may be for New Moon sightings for shofar-blowing and New Moon feast-keeping and/or reckoning the Sabbath.  

There are several articles here at JGIG regarding the Sabbath.  You can access those at the Articles Page and also see Law Keepers – Part 3 – Thoughts on the Sabbath.  

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

Gentler, kinder HRM/MJ types will come at it from the “We don’t want to insult YHWH/Yeshua by using His incorrect name now, do we?” angle.   

Just a very few of the variations I’ve seen of the “Sacred Names” are YHWH, YHVH, YaHWeH, Yahweh, Jehovah, Yahuweh, Yahuah, Yah (understood to be sort of an affectionate shortening of the other Yah-whatevers) and G-d . . . those are for God.  For Jesus, a few variations I’ve seen are Yeshua, Y’shua, Yahshua, Yahushua, Yahoshua . . . so if getting the names right is so important, which ones are they?!  

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

This site, sacrednamemovement.com, is an excellent resource regarding the Sacred Name Movement.  Another excellent resource is Let Us Reason Ministries, who has published this article  regarding the sacred names at their site.     

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Sanctification – So what about keeping the Law as believers?  Is it a question of sanctification for the Law keeping believer?  The HRM/MJ belief systems are all over the consistency map on this one.  Some say yes, Torah observance is how we are sanctified, others will say no, Torah observance is just how we show God that we love Him. 

Most will say that Torah observance is not a salvation issue, but when pressed they will admit that if you, once you become accountable to the knowledge that you are to  be Torah observant as a believer, choose not to obey, then you are in rebellion and will not enter the Kingdom of God according to Scriptures that they will take out of context.  Others will say that Yeshua (Jesus) will only come back for a Torah-observant Bride, so if you’re not observing Torah, well, you do the math.  

I won’t pretend to have this all ironed out and nailed down perfectly.  And I honestly can see both sides of the issue when it comes to simple Law keeping (Feasts, sabbaths, and dietary laws) barring the heretical doctrines prevalent in the Hebrew Roots Movement today.  The popular church has become permissive and in some cases downright atrocities occur and are not dealt with as the Church has been instructed to deal with them in the New Testament Scriptures.  To take those occurences  and go back to a covenental system no longer in effect because of the Blood of Christ, however, is not a fix. 

I always have to come back to the Cross.    

The priesthood, sacrifices . . . death . . . edicts, regulations, and ceremony – all were done away with at the Cross.  Yes, Jesus kept all of the Law that applied.  Before the Cross.  The Cross was the great dividing line in history . . . there was a clear path from death to life, from the sinful state to righteousness, from condemnation to justification.  And not once did Jesus or anyone else in the Bible ever say that salvation was attained or maintained by observance to any part of the Law.  You can cry point/counterpoint all day long when it comes to Paul’s writings . . . but the end result will always consistently be:  By faith, not by works we are saved.  By the Holy Spirit working on us from the inside out, we are sanctified, not by how well we keep the Law. 

The Holy Spirit works righteousness from the inside out, where the Law merely restrains sin from the outside.  Where the Law instructs man regarding his sinful condition, the Gospel transforms man regarding his sinful condition!  The believer walking in submission to the Holy Spirit will not be led into sin.  The believer choosing to walk in rebellion to the Holy Spirit will be miserable. 

Works are a natural result of redemption in the believer’s heart.  It is not by the outward performance of Law keeping that we become sanctified, it is by the completed work of Christ in our hearts that changes us intrinsically – belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing  (according to the Merriam-Webster definition of intrinsically).   

What does that mean?  It means that the Holy Spirit changes our nature – we belong to Him – we were purchased with a price – and that the Law keeping that takes place in the life of a believer is a natural fruit-bearing process as we grow in Christ, not of keeping this festival and that law.  The fruits that we see in the Church were not designed to be the keeping of the Law . . . those fruits are designed to be seen as God remakes us from the inside out through the working of His Holy Spirit!

When I re-read this passage recently, the part I’ve bolded really stood out to me:

Galatians 5:22-25
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The one who belongs to Christ and lives by the Spirit bears fruit against which there is NO law.

See also:  Romans 15:14-19, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, Galatians 5:16-26, Philippians 3:7-9  

  

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TalmudExcerpt from Wikipedia‘s article on Talmud:

The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. It is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, second only to the Hebrew Bible in importance.  

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism’s Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh.  

The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The Gemara is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature. The whole Talmud is also traditionally referred to as Shas (ש”ס), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the “six orders” of the Mishnah.  

Excerpts from Judaism 101:  

Oral Torah:  The Talmud
In addition to the written scriptures we have an “Oral Torah,” a tradition explaining what the above scriptures mean and how to interpret them and apply the Laws. Orthodox Jews believe G-d taught the Oral Torah to Moses, and he taught it to others, down to the present day. This tradition was maintained only in oral form until about the 2d century C.E., when the oral law was compiled and written down in a document called the Mishnah.

Over the next few centuries, additional commentaries elaborating on the Mishnah were written down in Jerusalem and Babylon. These additional commentaries are known as the Gemara. The Gemara and the Mishnah together are known as the Talmud. This was completed in the 5th century C.E.

There are actually two Talmuds: the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud is more comprehensive, and is the one most people mean if they just say “the Talmud” without specifying which one.

The Talmud is not easy to read. It reminds me of someone else’s class notes for a college lecture you never attended. There are often gaps in the reasoning where it is assumed that you already know what they are talking about, and concepts are often expressed in a sort of shorthand. Biblical verses that support a teaching are often referenced by only two or three words. The Talmud preserves a variety of views on every issue, and does not always clearly identify which view is the accepted one.

Something that I didn’t realize is just how much material makes up the Talmud.  And all that is made up of discussions amongst those who rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah as well as by those who engaged in Jewish mysticism.  I’m curious as to why anyone who claims Christ would go to the Talmud for direction in their faith. 

I’ve observed that Hebrew Roots types tend to reject the Talmud, Oral Traditions, and Rabbinical sources, while Messianic Judaism types tend to embrace the ‘wisdom and insight’ that the rabbis and sages can allegedly give.   

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TorahExcerpts from From Judaism 101‘s page on Torah: 

Level:  Basic
• Torah in the narrowest sense refers to the first five books of the Bible
• In a broader sense, Torah includes all Jewish law and tradition
• Torah was given to Moses in written form with oral commentary
• The oral component is now written in the Talmud
• There are additional important writings

The word “Torah” is a tricky one, because it can mean different things in different contexts. In its most limited sense, “Torah” refers to the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But the word “torah” can also be used to refer to the entire Jewish bible (the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament and to Jews as the Tanakh or Written Torah), or in its broadest sense, to the whole body of Jewish law and teachings.

Written Torah
To Jews, there is no “Old Testament.” The books that Christians call the New Testament are not part of Jewish scripture. The so-called Old Testament is known to us as Written Torah or the Tanakh.

From Hebrew Roots site First Fruits of Zion:

The Torah is an ancient scroll containing the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—the first five books of the Bible.

The Torah is the foundation of faith in Yeshua. All of the concepts associated with the Gospel—such as God, holiness, righteousness, sin, sacrifice, repentance, faith, forgiveness, covenant, grace and the kingdom of heaven on earth—are introduced in the Torah. Basic sacraments and rituals like baptism, communion, prayer and blessing all come from the Torah. Faith in Jesus is meaningful because of the Torah. Without the Torah, the Gospel has no foundation on which to stand.

The Hebrew word torah is translated “law” in most of our English Bibles. The Torah is called the Law of Moses because Moses wrote it, but the Torah is more than just a legal code. The word “Torah” (תורה) is from the Hebrew root, yara (ירה) which means “to instruct,” or “to teach.” Although it does contain laws, Torah itself is not only a “law,” but it is God’s “teaching” and “instruction.”

The Torah is the story of God’s people and how they came to be the people of God in the first place. The Torah is something all believers have in common. Regardless of what kind of Christianity or Judaism you come from or hold to, we all have this common ground. The Torah is our shared origin. It is God’s book.

However a simple definition/description of Torah is not sufficient when it comes to the Hebrew Roots Movement/Messianic Judaism.  After spending time examining the HRM/MJism belief system(s), it becomes clear that while claiming the saving grace of the Messiah, it appears that it is Torah that sits on the throne of their hearts.  They say that they are obeying the command to ‘walk as Yeshua walked’, yet there are a couple of fatal flaws in that thinking:

1. Jesus’ work was not yet completed as He walked among us

2. This one is a biggie – Jesus is sinless.  He is God.  He was able to walk perfectly.  We are not God.  We cannot keep the Law.  If we could, there would be no need for the Cross.  

I can’t help but wonder, as I hear those in the HR/MJ movements claim that they keep the Law, if they are being snookered by the same Lie that Satan told Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)      

Where faith in Christ, being clothed in Him, and the Law of Love are central themes in the practices of New Testament believers, those who align themselves with a Law-keeping mentality place Torah as central in their lives.  They live, breath, and eat the Feasts, Days, edicts and regulations of Old Testament Law.  Their speech is filled with what they do and how they relate to Torah, not filled with who Jesus is and what He did and their relationship with Him.

Folks in the Law-keeping community, when pressed or challenged about the proper use of Torah in a New Covenant reality, exhibit fruit that is opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit described in Galatians 5.  Instead of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you will find pride mostly, and the unpleasant characteristics that tend to accompany pride.  When they think they can sway you to their way of thinking, all is good.  Challenge them, however, and you will be accused of being an antinomian, promoting all kinds of awful sin because you believe yourself to be under Grace!

There are also those who teach that Yeshua is the living Torah.  They give Torah Godly characteristics and seem to give it a place in the God-head.  From the article, “Yeshua; Living Torah” and a Netzarim Statement of Faith (see how many perversions of Scripture you can pick up in just the next few sentences):

Before Sinai, the Torah was.

“In the beginning was the Torah and the Torah was with God and the Torah was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made… In him was life and that life was the light of men… And the Torah became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:1

Listen carefully.  The Torah became flesh and dwelt among us. Yeshua is the living Torah. Attempting to understand Messiah and His teachings, without understanding Torah is IMPOSSIBLE.

From the NSOF:  “We also believe that the Messiah Yeshua is the Torah incarnate. Just as the Torah is the way, the truth and the light, the Messiah is also the way, the truth and the light.”

Now for the real Scriptures:

John 8:58
58Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 1:1-5, 14
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 11:6
6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

John 14:6-7
6Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Do you see the differences there?  Evaluate everything that a Law keeper will throw at you (and they tend to bury you in information and Scripture), concentrating specifically on core issues of Biblical Christianity.  If those core issues fall short, the building the Law keeper is trying to get you to live in will not stand and eventually will crush you.

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YHWH God.  See Sacred Names above.

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Yeshua – Jesus.  See Sacred Names above.

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See also:

Glossary Intro

Glossary A-F

Glossary G-L

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

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Hebrew Roots Movement – Salesmanship 101

Salesmanship 101 you say??  Whatever does that have to do with the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movements?  Let’s go through some steps that a salesperson goes through as they try to get you, the consumer, to buy what they’re selling to see how those steps parallel the persuasive methodology in the HRM:

1) Identify the Target Pool
The first thing a good salesperson will do is to identify a target pool for what they’re selling.  I’m sorry to say that modern church culture is a prime hunting ground for the Hebrew Roots Movement.  There are the “health and wealthers”,  the “word of faithers” , the “signs and wonderers” , the “reformers”, the “dispensers”, the “shepherders”, the “mega churchers”, the“feel gooders”, the “patriocentrists”, the “dominionists”, the “reconstructionists” . . . not to mention all the different denominations and sects.  Sorry if I left anyone out . . . but I think you get the general idea.

Though the Gospel can be found in the above categories, the focus of each “system” of belief can stray from biblical Christianity in such a way that the belief system becomes the focus of each group, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the maturity of the believer in Him.

Agendas outweigh foundational teaching.  Financial and/or growth goals outweigh growing the local body in Scriptural grace and truth and maturity.  Programs are governed by perceived cultural “needs” instead of the commands of Jesus to love God and love others.  Our modern “drive thru” mentality leaves little room for waiting on God to show individuals or bodies of believers where He would have them serve in his Body.  Having a “successful” ministry becomes the goal (measured in many cases by church wealth and growth) instead of a solid foundation in sound, contextual, Scriptural doctrine and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

target-practiceThe result is an anemic Church, more steeped in church “culture” than in sound biblical doctrine.  We have Christian bookstores stuffed full of books spanning every topic imaginable.  The Internet opens up all kinds of avenues for information gathering not previously available.  The “post-modern” believer is subject to information overload, and where they seek enlightenment and enhancement of biblical teachings, they often end up instead with a dilution of Scripture, giving them a spiritual diet of watery gruel instead of nourishing, hearty meals that provide opportunity for genuine spiritual growth and maturity.

The Homeschooling Pool
There is another group of Christians that I’ve observed that are susceptible to the errors in the Hebrew Roots Movement – that is the Homeschooling community.  We (and I include my family in that community) tend to be an independent lot, overall.  We tend question the status quo, question things more than the average bear, and have a tendency to be a bit counter-cultural and open to new concepts and ideas, while at the same time holding to basic traditional ideals.  We are not afraid to embrace “unique” ways of doing things – if something isn’t working the way it’s being done, we are willing to try doing it differently.  Those qualities in and of themselves are good things, providing the flexibility that those of us who homeschool tend to build in to our daily lives of educating our children at home.

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

A recent discourse with one who has come out of the HRM states the case better than I can, in relation to both traditional churches and home fellowships:

I’ve seen a growing trend of well-known pastors embracing and promoting teachings of the HRM. These are pastors that are widely respected in the body of Christ for their opinions, biblical interpretations, scholarship, and spiritual discernment. So I think the church as a whole is at risk for being influenced by the HRM, because we tend to trust and embrace the teachings of those we look up to for guidance. I want to say that house churches are less susceptible to encountering false doctrine, but the truth is that even the house churches of the New Testament had to deal with it, including the false teachings of the Torah observant/HRM. The major lesson I learned in my experience with the HRM is that the yeast of the Pharisees is still alive and well, and that the teachings should be avoided, because a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Jesus’ warning to avoid their teachings is relevant for all believers, whether they fellowship within larger church settings or house churches. Since it only takes a little leaven to affect the whole lump, we all have to stand firm against it and be on guard.

In addition to the above, homeschooling families are, in their quest for good curriculum, exposed to Torah observant families on internet forums, in support groups, and even through suppliers of curriculum.  One such supplier is Heart of Wisdom, which stresses a “Hebraic approach” to educating children vs. the “Greek approach”.  While Heart of Wisdom does have some good resources to offer, as with any entity offering false spiritual teaching, where there is good, there is always that “little leaven”, as the writer quoted above notes, that you need to look for and to stand firm against.

Heart of Wisdom is very subtle in its initial presentation of the “Hebraic mindset”, but like anything, if you investigate the Heart of Wisdom website and ALL of its sister websites and forum, it is clear that it promotes the “Hebrew Roots of our faith” through and through.  One book in particular that HOW Publishing offers to homeschoolers as curriculum (and which has become very popular in the homeschooling community) is “The Family Guide to Biblical Holidays.”a-family-guide

From one of the critical reviews of “The Family Guide to Biblical Holidays” at Amazon:

I was extremely disappointed with this particular item. The cost of the book is not worth it. The authors claim to make efforts to educate people on the biblical feasts, but have included an immense amount of information that is rooted in cabala [Kabbalah] without addressing it as such. As a parent who purchased this book in order to supplement the teaching of Truth, I was dumbfounded by the authors lack of research concerning the roots of certain celebration practices. My own elementary school children were able to pick apart the errors in teaching and doctrinal half truths. This book should come with a warning label. If you are pursuing information on practicing biblical feasts the Jewish way: Buy. If you are interested in information on Biblical feasts: Walk! Just as there are many pagan traditions in “Christian” holidays, there are just as many pagan traditions in the “Jewish” holidays. Buyer be aware.

There is a subtle yet consistent undertone of the use of Kabbalah and its related practice of Gematria in the Hebrew Roots Movement/Messianic Judaism as the reviewer refers to above.  [More can be learned about this connection at “Doublemindedness in the Hebrew Roots Movement – The Use of Kabbalah and Gematria”.  Highly Recommended.]

One mom relayed to me that in the homeschooling support group her family belongs to her family is the only family who is not Torah observant.  The families that have taken on Torah observance all have the “Family Guide to Biblical Holidays” in common.  The really interesting thing is that these families bought the book as curriculum to learn about Biblical Feasts and came away feeling commanded to keep not only the Feasts, but to become completely Torah observant.  There is no such command to the Body of Christ to keep the Law or the Feasts.

Conclusions
The realities of the shortcomings in the Church today prime many for the “getting back to the way early believers worshipped” and the “getting back to the Hebrew/Jewish roots of our faith” that the HRM claims to offer.  Teachers in the HRM systematically dismantle elements of both the modern and traditional Church (not without justification in some cases), replacing what they have torn down with a house of contradictions and doctrine woven in such a way that it can be difficult to discern its error.  Those in the Church who are unsatisfied, immature in their faith, disgruntled, wounded, or rebellious are bit by bit led from the error they may be experiencing in their current circumstance into compounded error in the HRM which has been dressed up in the seeming “authenticity” of Messianic Christianity.

NOTE:
I think the point needs to be made here that there are healthy churches out there!  It may take patient searching and lots of visiting, but they do exist!  I can say this with confidence, as our family is blessed to be in a healthy church.  Whether one finds a healthy church or home fellowship is partly determined by the attitude of one’s heart.  If you’re looking for the “perfect” church with “like-minded” believers, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and discontent.  There is no such place, as the Church is made up of imperfect believers – us.  Look for a healthy church, not a perfect one.  Focus on the Gospel being of primary importance, along with the core, indisputable matters of the faith.  Measure any church or home fellowship by those standards and by the commands of Jesus to love God and love others, and within those parameters you will find a healthy place in which to gather, worship, and serve with fellow Christians.

2) Establish the Need
In part, because of some real and deserved discontent in much of the modern Church today, the Hebrew Roots Movement makes use of that discontent in such a way as to establish something that has the appearance of authenticity.  In effect, they validate one’s discontent (and/or immaturity, woundedness, or rebellion – whether or not it is justified) and provides a possible explanation for one’s unhappiness in Christianity – that one is in fact being “drawn back to the Hebraic Roots of one’s faith”.

The HRM systematically tears down the orthodox (small ‘o’) tenets of biblical Christianity as being “Hellenized” , then systematically rebuilds an entirely new perspective on Scripture, based on “Hebraic” systems of thought, language, and customs.  [You can read more information about about the true influences of Hellenism on both Judaism (both BCE and CE) and the early Church at “Hebrew Roots Movement – The Issue of “Hellenization” here at JGIG.  Highly Recommended.]  The result of HRM teachings regarding Hellenistic vs. Hebraic thought and perspective is the 800px-raphael_school_of_athenssignificant minimizing of the Gospel and an inappropriate elevation of the Torah and “being a part of” Israel.  The simplicity of the Gospel for all tongues, tribes, and nations fades and eventually disappears under the weight of the Laws and traditions required by the “Hebraic mindset.”

The HRM establishes a further need for their belief system by framing the Church of the last 2000 years as being rooted in paganism.    No facet of the Church is exempt – from Catholicism (which is indeed steeped in extra-biblical doctrine and practices) to Protestantism to Evangelicism to Fundamentalism, etc. – all are indicted by the HRM as at least being influenced by and at worst practicing paganism in one form or another throughout the ages.  In Sheep Wrecked’s Testimony, one portion in her story brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it:

That first yesod class broke my heart.  I truly believed that I “had missed it”. I completely fell apart in the car on the way home, weeping non-stop for two days in repentance for the “error” that I had been taught my whole life in “church/babylon”.  I totally believed I had found the “truth” I had been searching for.  I was elated, but very misled, as I immersed myself in a new life style and new theology which systematically worked against me.  It eventually became a burden and a yoke that I could not bear.  I was absorbing another Gospel and it weighed so heavily on me that I could physically feel it.  I did not comprehend then why there was an underlying feeling of weariness and oppression that I could not shake. 

A  number of books feed into the Hebrew Roots Movement’s cycle of paranoia, including “Fossilized Customs” by Lew White, “Come Out of Her My People” by CJ Koster, “Too Long in the Sun” by Richard Rives, and the grand-daddy of them all, “The Two Babylons”, by Alexander Hislop – the book which is the basis for many modern books on paganism in the Church.  While there is some truth to some of their charges, the points on paganism found in these books and books like them are taken way too far by the HRM.  They inflate the influence of pagan practices  and Hellenistic culture as well as exercise poor scholarship in research [on purpose?], linking historical events (where their historical accuracy is tenuous at best in many cases) to practices in the Church that really have no basis in reality at all.  A good resource examining the claims of the above titles is the book, The Babylon Connection? by Ralph Woodrow, who came out of a Law-keeping lifestyle many years ago.

Some in the HRM leadership even see themselves as being the completion of the Reformation!  One Hebrew Roots leader wrote me an email (which I may post someday, just for fun) part of which stated:

“What about those of us who see our Messianic faith as continuing the work of a John Calvin or a John Wesley?”

My response:

I would say that some serious re-evaluation of your belief system on your part is in order.  Calvin and Wesley sought to bring the Gospel back to the simplicity that God intended for it to have.  In my opinion, the HRM, wherever you place yourself on that spectrum, seeks to complicate the Gospel, removing or minimizing the completed work of the Cross and adding the works of man.  Calvin and Wesley, I dare say, would not approve.” 

3)  Fill that need
Once you establish a need, you need to fill that need, or provide a solution.  Once someone had been convinced that Christianity has been in error – indeed that it is a false religion according to some in the HRM, false teachers can swoop in with their “secret knowledge” and “hidden insight”.  This goes for ALL false belief systems, by the way, not just the Hebrew Roots Movement.

The Hebrew Roots/Messianic movement determines to fill that  need with the efforts of man to keep a Covenant we, in Christ, are no longer under.  And Christians who become convinced that they’ve been “doing it all wrong” for so long are perfect targets.  They feel a need to “make up” for their error.  It’s a perfect set-up for the introduction to a works-based belief system.

Yep, everything will fall into place when you start to keep Torah.  Special insight, hidden knowledge, fascinating culture and a systematic re-working of the doctrines that that those in the HRM have convinced you are false, needing replacement from the context of the “Hebraic mindset”.

There are some consistent, key ways that I’ve observed how the HRM pulls this off:

* They systematically tear down the cultural Church, not without some cause, but deftly mix valid criticisms with invalid ones, bringing about the idea that the entire Church has been in error for all but the first century.  Not only that, but they will try to convince you that the “true” religion of the early believers in Christ is a perpetuation of the practice of Torah observance, and not “Christianity” at all!  To pull this off, they do one or all of three things:

1.) They will try to convince you that the belief system that you have been subjected to since the first century has been “Hellenized”, stripping “true first century beliefs” from their origins.  They will tell you that you engage in pagan sun worship and idolatry, not to mention blatant disobedience to God’s Law.  For an in-depth study dealing with these accusations by the HRM, refer to the post, “Hebrew Roots Movement – The Issue of ‘Hellenization’ “.

2.) They will re-define the New Covenant, changing it into a “renewed” Covenant, which is clearly communicated in the New Testament to be a NEW Covenant.  Refer to the post, “Hebrew Roots Movement – New Covenant or ‘Renewed’ Covenant” for an overview of the HRM position and an in-depth word study proving the “renewed” position to be false.

3.) They will try to convince you that though a “New Covenant” exists, we are not yet under that New Covenant, and as as such, we must still “keep” Old Covenant Law.  They will mis-use prophecy and the words of Jesus to support their position – always taken out of context and/or will mis-use the original language of a text in effort to support their error.

* They distort the biblical concept of repentance.  For the redeemed believer in Christ, when we repent, we recognize our sin and Who Jesus is, and turn to the Grace of God and the completed work of Christ Jesus at the Cross for our salvation.  To one in the HRM, repentance means to turn away from their sin and toward the Law of God, turning back to the keeping of Law with Jesus as the “Safety Net” for when they fail.  The Biblical definition of repentance is to have a change of mind and heart, recognizing our sin, recognizing God’s Provision in Christ, and letting the Holy Spirit renew us, resulting in the changing of our behavior.  For articles exploring this issue more, see “Hebrew Roots Movement – The Perversion of Repentance“, “Repentance For Those In Christ: A One Time Thing or an Every-Time-We-Sin Thing?“, and “Hebrew Roots Movement – Hebrews 10, Willful Sin, No More Sacrifice, and Judgement, Oh My!

* Sanctification and the maintaining of their “salvation” is not in the hands of God, but in their own hands, dependant on their keeping of the Laws of the Old Covenant.  Most in the HRM will try to deny this reality in their belief system, but if you systematically take each of their beliefs and see where they take you, there is no denying that their system of belief is upheld not by the Grace of God, but by the works of man.  I posed the following questions to some HRMers on a forum recently:

Under the Old Covenant, certain laws applied to certain people (encompassing all Israelites, then sub-groups such as male, female, priests, for example). These laws were not optional. If there were laws that applied to you, you had to do ALL of them. To not do them was punishable by expulsion from the community of Israel or death, as was called for in the Law.

Makes one wonder . . . most in the HRM say that keeping the Law is not required for salvation and that we should keep the Law because we love God and want to please Him . . . yet if Israel did not keep the Law, there was punishment – either expulsion from Israel or death. In that context, does that mean that we can “lose” our salvation for not obeying Mosaic Law? If we “become Israel”, and we fail to “keep” the Law are we then expelled from the community of Israel or worse yet, is the second death re-imposed on us as “law-breakers”? HRMers will say that “oh no, your salvation is not dependent on keeping the Law”, yet the Law itself does not support that claim. You can’t have Law without enforcement. The two go hand in hand.

One needs to first determine what law one is under before one determines to “do” it.

In the era after the completed work of Christ, are we under the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses given at Sinai, or the New Covenant, the Law of Christ, the Law of Love, forged in the blood of Christ?

4)  Overcoming objections
The people I’ve come across that were once involved with but are now out of the Hebrew Roots Movement/Messianic Judaism or its sects are not unintelligent people.  As a rule, I have found that their number one goal is to worship God in a manner pleasing to Him, unencumbered by human traditions. (For an ironic twist regarding this desire, see “Doublemindedness in the Hebrew Roots Movement – The Use of Kabbalah and Gemetria”. )

Questions proselytes have had have been addressed with “special knowledge” and “hidden insights” as those in the leadership and laity of the HRM rattle on about linguistics, church history, and the re-working of pivotal doctrines.  Following is a glossary definition I put together to describe one method used by those in the HRM to establish superiority as they endeavor to answer questions/objections:  

Hebrew-ismsOkay, I made that one up.  “Hebrew-isms” is a word I’m putting here to describe how those in the Hebrew Roots Movement choose to speak and communicate matters of theological thought.  Using the Sacred Name(s) exclusively (YHWH/Yeshua), would be one example,  using the Hebrew “Ruach HaKodesh” instead of using English to refer to the Holy Spirit, another. 

Leadership will also use Hebrew instead of English when referencing Bible passages from their own “translations” (see “Hebrew Roots Movement – Messin’ With the Word”) as will laity when exposed long enough to their new paradigm.  The book of “Matthew” becomes “Matityahu”, “John” becomes “Jochanan”, etc.  “Brit Hadashah” is a big one, which means “Renewed Covenant”, not “New Covenant”. [Great article detailing the language errors the HRM engages in to “prove” that the Covenant is “renewed” not “new” can be found HERE.]   “Renewed Covenant” has the sense of going back to the Law, a renewing of the Old Covenant – not entering into the newness of life that the New Covenant brings.  The vernacular of the details of the Feasts is also an element, not a bad thing in itself, as the Feasts paint a powerful picture of the reality that is in Christ. 

However, all that astute language usage becomes a platform of superiority on which HRM leadership can stand upon above their “students” and on which HRM laity can stand upon above their potential “converts” as they lead them into a Hebrew Roots mindset.  The platform delivers in a couple of ways: 

1) It’s very impressive and gives one the air of superior knowledge and wisdom, enticing the hearer to place unearned and untested respect and weight in the speaker’s words.

2) It can be a diversionary tactic, distracting the hearer from the false doctrine being delivered amidst the flurry of unfamiliar language.

There comes with Hebrew-isms’ platform of superiority the prospect that the speaker does have special insight, secret knowledge, or hidden revelation, that before now, you, Joe Christian, were not privy to in the Church (Body of Christ).  Not only that, but the “truth” was purposefully hidden from you by the Church, corrupted through the ages, and you must rely on your new teachers to enlighten you.

And on all those “Hebrew-isms” they build their false doctrine.  Straight answers are hard to come by. Questions are met with questions.  While they are not prepared with a ready defense of what they believe, they are more often prepared to tear down what you believe, and then replace it with their false doctrine, leaving you nothing but a pile ofachildsview1 rubble to look back on if you question them again. 

You end up becoming so busy looking at the doctrinal rubble that’s been spread on the ground around you, and are so overwhelmed with the possibility that you’ve had it all wrong for so long, that you are exhausted from it all and don’t have the energy to really investigate where this “special knowledge” and “hidden insight” is truly coming from.  To the believer subjected to these techniques, they are unknowingly being beaten down, only to be “rescued” by the lies of the Enemy.

 

5)  Closing the “sale”
One person I know who came out of the Messianic Christian movement put it this way:  “Once you’re in ‘Messy’ “, as she affectionately calls it, “you become convinced that if you don’t keep the Law, you’ll lose your salvation.”

 

That’s it.  That is the close of the “sale”.  Taking it beyond “If you love God, you’ll keep His commandments”, the Hebrew Roots Movement is reduced to a fear-based belief system:  If you don’t hold up your end, you will die an eternal death.  If you don’t believe me, press those in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements on this issue.  If your salvation is not dependant on your keeping of the Law, then “keeping” the Law would be optional.  As conversation progresses, you’ll find that in their belief system, the “keeping” of Old Covenant Law is not optional.  And if it’s not optional, where there is law, there must be enforcement and punishment.

It’s a pretty effective close.

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Dear Believer,

If you find yourself in a discourse with a Law Keeper of any persuasion, investigate fully where their beliefs come from before discarding the completed work of Christ at the Cross.  Don’t be afraid to question your own beliefs . . . that’s a healthy thing to do on occasion, to reinforce why we believe what we believe.  While doing so, NEVER lose sight of the Cross, the Grace of God, the truths of the New Covenant, and the whole, contextual use of Scripture.

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:3-11)

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At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:3-11)

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I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!  (Galatians 1:6-9)

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

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The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

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Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:1-6)

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Other articles of interest:

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

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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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Law Keepers – Part 4 – Thoughts on the New Covenant

Okay, so about Torah observance for Christians . . . setting aside – just for a moment – the scriptures which support the concept that we are free from the Law because of what Christ did at the Cross, there are some practical problems with keeping the Law in a post-Cross world, are there not?

There is no temple, there are no high priests, most  believers do not or are not able to go to Jerusalem at the appointed times for the appointed feasts.  So how do believers who are Torah observant reconcile these and other inconsistencies?

The following was posted by me on the mom’s forum I subscribe to in response to posts by those who “keep” the Law:

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I just want to stress again that the following is intended as a defense of what I believe to be scripturally sound teaching regarding Grace and the Law.

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.”  Jesus 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. 

“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 uncircumcision of 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?

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Are we justified before God because of Jesus’ work at the Cross or are we not?   I found a really really good teaching titled, “Justified Through Faith” at Pass The ToastI suggest that you turn on the audio as you read through the teaching.  The audio is a little fuzzy, but I found that I got much more out of the teaching as I listened while I read, to hear the inflection in the words which were being spoken.

May I also suggest that you take a look at the testimony of Aaron Budjen, a Jewish Christian.  He gives a very good account about how God showed him the difference between spiritual death and spiritual life and how God led him from one to the other – all from the perspective of one born a Jew and raised a Jew – studying to become a Rabbi.  His perspective on salvation and the Law is very enlightening.

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Though the above was one of my last posts (there is one more in response to another “Law” mom I’ll be posting here later) on the mom’s forum regarding Torah observance for Christians (the discussion was shut down by the moderator to those of us who had been debating there), it was evident to me that based on the responses posted by “Law Keepers” that there was a stream of thought . . . a source of teaching . . . this doctrine was coming from somewhere.  Not only that, but after my “What About the Blood?!” post, the responses that came from “Law Keepers” contained discernible heresy.

These and other issues regarding the Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name Movements will be discussed in future posts here.  Stay tuned . . .

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

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Other articles of interest:

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

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