It is with a grateful heart that I’ve received yet another testimony. This one came as an email recently and is a great blessing to me and to others who contend for the Gospel in the arena with those who pursue Torah. Many thanks to “thatonechick” for the following.
This testimony will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG.
If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HRM), please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace@gmail dot com. From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience. Many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute here.
Keep ’em coming! Testimonies are a powerful witness to the Gospel of Christ! Thank you!
When I originally considered Torah observance, I wasn’t really aware that I was even looking for a way to observe Torah. I didn’t even really know the word Torah. I was looking for a denomination that wasn’t the same as what I was a part of growing up. I went to a Southern Baptist Church growing up, and stopped going in my late teens because I felt like I was attending a hypocritical, judgmental social club rather than a church. I looked into several, and had heard of Messianic Judaism from someone I know. I was mildly curious, but my curiosity didn’t last very long and then I moved on.
A few months ago, I became convinced that observing Torah was extremely important. I came to believe that it was almost essential to salvation. I kept thinking, “He said go and sin no more, did He not?” Thus, began my journey into observing Torah.
But, I found myself on an emotional roller coaster. It was bothersome. I have learned some things along the way.
I no longer observe Torah in the sense that “Torah Keepers” do. As I stand outside the box, I look back in and see some things that I now find a little disturbing.
First of all, the idea of using Father’s real name and the real name of His Son as opposed to the ones I learned as a child seemed almost a salvational issue. I can’t speak for ALL Torah observers, but I can say that I know of some who at at least one point, believed that calling on any name besides Yahweh or Yeshua was like calling on empty space, or even satan himself. I even almost believed it myself.
But, I now find it very hard to believe that it is wrong to use God or Jesus. One issue is that Jesus said to call God Father. So why do some insist that we MUST use Yahweh? I have heard the argument that Jesus is a paganized name for Zeus. I find this arguable at best. I myself was saved using the name Jesus. I know that many people were saved using the name Jesus throughout history. I know that the Holy Spirit has been with me for a long time now, and not when I suddenly started saying Yahweh and Yahushua.
Not to mention I have seen Jesus’ Hebrew name spelled and pronounced several ways, which in itself, goes against the argument that we MUST use His correct name. How can we say that when it is spelled and pronounced so many ways? Yeshua, Yashua, Yahushua, Yahowushua, Y’shua and on and on.
I have no problems or hostilities with using our Heavenly Father’s name, if that’s what He wants. But Jesus said to call Him Father. This promotes a family unit. I believe He wants us to draw near to Him as we would our dads. As humans, we typically revere our earthly fathers and respect and honor them, and love them. We go to them when we are sad, lonely, or happy. We seek guidance, acknowledgement, understanding, forgiveness, and protection. I believe this is the kind of relationship God wants. Not fear, but love and trust.
After following Torah as best as I could (which wasn’t that great in my opinion) I came across the terms “Spirit” and “Letter” of the Law. This was something new to me. So I looked into these ideas, and suddenly I began to question what I was doing. Was I pulling myself away from the Spirit in following the letter? I was unsure. I often felt like I didn’t know who Jesus was anymore. I didn’t find myself relating to Him very often.
I knew that Jesus became our sacrifice, and our High Priest. I knew that WE became the temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell. I started to think, how is it that He replaced some of these things but not all. Everything was a shadow, something to point towards Him, but was it all things?
I remembered one time, someone mentioned that Jesus WAS our Sabbath. I never heard that growing up. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. I also remember reading once, that ALL the 10 commandments besides the Sabbath was reiterated by Jesus in the Gospels.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Interesting that He didn’t really talk about resting on Sabbath, but He did say rest in Him.
This also got me to thinking about which Laws are written on our hearts. I realize now that the moral Laws are most definitely written on our hearts. At least I know this for myself. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, and so on and so forth. In fact He even expounded on them not just physically but spiritually, by saying it’s wrong to even THINK about doing these things. Is the sacrificial law written on our hearts? Not really. Except for when we accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, and received the Holy Spirit. But this is received in Spirit. Not on paper. But I don’t feel that the 7th day rest is written on my heart, or even the feasts.
If morality of the Law is written on our hearts spiritually, and the remaining law wasn’t, then it remains the “letter” of the law. That part was nailed to the cross. The reason it was “nailed to the cross” is because those things are now found in our Savior. And He was nailed to the cross.
Another thing I am failing to understand is the idea that the New Testament was translated wrong, or that we are just simply misunderstanding it. I believe the message is simple, and that simple message can be translated in all languages. The premise, that we must learn Hebrew or Aramaic to understand what is being said, seems, well, ludicrous to me. How can I ask people in the poorest parts of the world, who possibly can’t even read or write in their own language, to learn Hebrew in order to understand what is being said throughout the New Testament. No. That’s unrealistic.
What about the feasts? We know that the feasts pointed towards Christ, but do we still observe them? I think we certainly can, but some people say it’s demanded. That the feasts are still honored in order to remember what Jesus did on the cross (or pole or stake as some insist), but isn’t this what the Lord’s supper is for? Jesus said eat this bread and drink this drink in remembrance of me.
I now find it somewhat amusing, seeing some people struggle to celebrate these feasts on their own, having no real guidance in how to do it, and when one denies Rabbinical teaching, what can you do? I see people getting the dates wrong, and not observing it properly, even as said in the Bible.
I don’t understand the obsession with all things pagan, and what they may or may not have represented. I have heard that the names God and Jesus are pagan, along with Sunday, the Cross, church steeples, Christmas, Easter, the names of the days of the week, wedding rings, and so on and so forth.
I think this obsession overwhelms and consumes some people.
As I observed Torah, I began to feel depressed, condemned, and less Christian than I have ever felt before, even when I was leading a less than righteous life. And what’s with people not even wanting to claim the title “Christian”? Insanity.
I again saw a comment regarding the “Spirit of the Law” vs. the “Letter of the Law”. What was this, I wondered. I began to look and these are some of the things I began to realize.
Colossians 2:16-18 (King James Version)
16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
I have heard people say that the Colossians were all Gentile, and therefore the people who would be giving them a hard time would be non-christian gentiles. Why then, in vs. 17 would Paul call the things listed in vs. 16 a “shadow of things to come”, would non-christian gentiles even know of these shadows? I think not. The reality is, the congregation was made up of Gentiles AND Jews. Look at vs. 18. Who was worshipping angels? I am still looking into this. But the evidence I found suggests that the Jews (some of them) prayed to angels as intermediaries to Father.
My experience with other Hebrew Roots people has been on the internet. People that I have met through forums or articles I have read through various sources. It’s no surprise to me that many of these people feel the same way I felt in a sense. When you embrace Hebrew Roots, you suddenly feel the need to witness to people who ALREADY BELIEVE in Jesus. This is neglecting non-believer’s in a terrible way. We are to spread the Gospel to all nations, not to people who already have the Holy Spirit as their guidance.
When you embrace Hebrew Roots, you start to feel guilty about every aspect of your life, questioning every move you make, and thinking that if you screw up, you could, well, be screwed.
I felt fallen from grace.
I notice that many people who embrace this movement, first of all deny they are in the movement, but also they are often arrogant, judgemental, condemning, nasty, hateful, and prideful. Once I embraced this movement, I noticed these qualities in myself. It’s like you automatically feel prideful and self righteous. It was so stupid, and that was shameful on my part.
And what’s with this obsession with being the least or greatest in Heaven? I don’t think that should be our goal in life. We should be loving and caring for people. Not trying to beat them in some spiritual race to get to the top.
Another thing I noticed, is how some regard Torah so much more than the Gospels. The Gospels show the light of the shadows of Torah. It seems strange to me.
Once I started seeing the spiritual aspect of my faith, I found it harder to accept the letter or physical aspect as binding.
I believe that many many Torah keepers are honest about their faith, and they honestly believe they should be doing this and that they honestly believe they should be telling (warning) others that they should be doing this. I have met some very generous and very kind people, but I can no longer believe what they believe. All I want is the truth, and I don’t think they hold it.
I prayed often every day to be shown the truth. I was never fully convinced of everything and often felt like I was wrong, but wasn’t sure how because many things “seemed” right about the movement. I thank our Father so much for showing me the light in the shadows and giving me His guiding hand to lead me out. If it wasn’t for Him, well, I don’t know what.
I just wanted to share my side of it. I apologize that this is not more in depth, nor does it sound like I am all that educated **smile**, but I feel that this movement is from the wrong kind of spirit, and if I am wrong so help me God.
Thank you so much for listening to what I had to say. I hope it helps in the fight against this “movement”. I feel like it’s taking advantage of people who have good intentions but get mixed up in the wrong thing. I partially feel like God sent me there to help me understand WHY I am saved and WHY He sent His son. But another part of me thinks that there are bad spirits involved. I am just glad I am out and glad I am saved. Praise God! I love Him!
Thanks again, to “thatonechick” for sharing her heart with us here.