This is not a ‘heresy hunting’ blog, everything we post here about other doctrines it’s because has affected us personally (or our love ones), or are answers to questions made by others. 3 brothers & sisters in the Lord in a period of 1 week sent or asked for information regarding this movement.
I just hope and pray this information here may be of help to you. I also want to ask readers for your prayers, for God to help everyone affected by these doctrines of the Hebrew Root Movement (HRM).
Also it is important to clarify that this group HRM differs in doctrine from many Messianic Jews and some of their leaders have shown publicly their concerns about HRM. See ‘One Law Two Sticks‘
Jewish believer Stephen Katz expresses his concerns when he says, “Much of the Jewish Roots Movement is actually based on later Jewish/rabbinic tradition. More importantly, the question of whether Gentiles need to add Jewish lifestyle and return to Jewish roots was settled by the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15. The remarkable news of the Gospel is that, in Y’shua, Jews and Gentiles have direct access to God” (“The Jewish Roots Movement: Flowers and Thorns,” March 1, 2001).
We consider many of the followers of HRM brothers & sister in Christ, sincere people that love the Lord Jesus, study their bibles and want to please God. We love them and want the best for them, but we also see them in danger of falling from grace Galatians 5:4 & also they are opening doors to Jewish Gnosticism without knowing it. And because of this & only out of love for them we see the need of warning our brothers & sisters of danger.
I know many of them will say they are save by faith alone & not by works of the law, but please understand this is not the only danger they are facing. HRM teachings will make them doubt little by little of fundamental Christian doctrines, like the Trinity, the Holy Spirit , Jesus virgin birth, Jesus Divinity, etc & become more and more like contemporary Judaism, which by the way is not the same that existed in times of Jesus. We have seen many Christians who after being for some time in Hebrew Roots or Messianic groups ended up leaving Christianity completely & became followers of Judaism denying Christ. You can see just 1 example here.
I have doubts about many of the HRM teachers, even they may be nice most of them don’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, or in the Holy Spirit as a person, one of their teachers said publicly: ” We do not observe Trinity in the Hebrew Roots Community“. So I wonder, how can the Holy Spirit be guiding them & teaching to them God’s Word? If they don’t believe in the Holy Spirit then we need to ask what spirit is behind their teachings. The Word of God says to test the spirits, 1 John 4:1.
Whosoever transgresseth (G3845 = depart, leave, be turned from), and abideth (G3306= remain, stay, continue) not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”2 John 1:9-11 .
To see more about the Doctrine of Christ please check here.
It is normal for HRM teachers to use unbiblical sources (even some of them recognize these have no spiritual authority) as help to arrive to their interpretations, e.g. the apocryphal books (Enoch, Jasher, etc), & Talmud (Oral Tradition), Zohar, Aramaic Midrash (Foundational texts in Kabbalah that is used by occultists), etc.
Most HRM teachers in their web sites have interviews or recommend studies of kabbalists like HRM teachers Rabbi Avi Ben Mordechai (aka Bradley M. Marcus) who denies the Deity of Christ and His virgin birth, James Scott Trimm (aka Rabbi Yosef) author of a new bible HRV, full of Kabbalist doctrine, has a web site teaching Kabbalah but I don’t want to link here, Kabbalist Andrew Gabriel Roth translator of a different New Testament (AENT), he doesn’t believe in the trinity or virgin birth of Jesus, Rabbi Ariel Cohen Alloro (at beginning of video he mentions his 20 years into Kabbalah) who promotes interfaith unity and is a disciple of prominent Israeli Kabbalist leader Y. Ginsburhg. And many others Kabbalist that most HRM teachers learn from. By the way Kabbalah & Gnosticism are inseparable & are occultic. This is a most read about the Talmud – Attractive Deception, Chapt. 1, & about Midrash
The authority of the believer is only found in the Word of God, not in other non-inspired books or in men interpretations. And if HRM teaches there are errors in the New Testament translation (or Paul is too difficult) and they alone have the right interpretation, (Sects like Jehovah Witnesses & Mormons also claim that), then they are taking away the authority from the Word of God & putting it on themselves. It seems they don’t consider the consequences of it, namely that most Christians throughout history (that had a New Testament) didn’t know the true Gospel.
HRM teaches the whole bible is good for us today and we agree with that, but they mix the 2 covenants & teach that obeying the Mosaic law (Torah) is mandatory for all Jews & gentiles. They teach faith plus obedience to ‘Mosaic law’ as necessary for salvation. For most of them we Christians aren’t really save if we don’t obey the Mosaic law. Another claim is that there is no salvation under any other name but the Hebrew name of Jesus. This claim is the essence of the Sacred Name Movement, which is also essential to the Hebrew Roots Movement.
One of the most grievous effects of the Hebrew Roots Movement is that it is leading a very large number of Christians away from a life submitted to and guided by the Holy Spirit of God, to a life under the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant.
Also many followers look at their ‘awakening’ of their Torah observance as some kind of evidence of their chosen-ness. But this problem isn’t anything new, it has been happening since the beginning of the Church, it just has intensified in these last days & they prey mainly on Christians that are tired of the apostasy they see on the Church in general .
And certain men which came down from Judæa taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them,. . 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
. .10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. . .
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me . . Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions (G234= defilement) of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. . .
The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. Acts 15
As we can read in the Word of God Acts 15: 6, the apostles and elders came together and met in Jerusalem to find the Holy Spirit’s position on the issue and to make things clear to all believers. And the Apostle James (brother of our Lord) told the Jewish believers that they should not disturb Gentile believers Vs, 13-21. It is understandable that many Jews believers after their conversion were still observing some of the the law that was part of their culture & daily living, but remember the law & the prophets (All the Old Testament) was summarized by Jesus in 2 commandments, Matthew 22 . We also can read that when necessary some of the converted Jews in an specific occasion observed some of the requirements so they could enter the temple and could witness to the rest of the Jews. But we can also read that the apostle Paul, a devoted Law observer, explained to other Jews (including to Peter the Apostle of the circumcision or Jew believers) about grace & faith and that by doing or keeping the law of Moises no one is justified. (Gal. 2:16), Still some didn’t grasped it well and were putting pressure to others Jews & bothering the Gentiles believers. The Apostle Paul rebuked them who pushed “to judaize” G2450, the gentiles that were coming to faith.
(for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: . . .But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to (G2450 = Judaize) live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified – Gal. 2: 8,14-16
(Even in the Apostolic Fathers collection, Ignatius of Antioch’s (c. 35 – c. 108), in his letter to the Magnesians 10:3 written around the year 100 a.c, we read: ‘It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God’. (Roberts-Donaldson Translation).
Years later after many of apostle’s Paul trips, coming back to Jerusalem and being warned by prophet Agabus that he was going to be imprisoned there, some elders in Jerusalem talked to Paul & they were teaching the same things spoken in the Jerusalem Council about the Gentiles coming to the faith in Messiah, to keep only 4 specific things instead of the entire Torah :
. .and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. . . As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.. Acts 21:17-25
1/ Abstain from pollution of idols –Acts 15:19, (Ex. 20:3-6, 34:15), It refers in general to not participate or not defile ourselves with idolatry. Food & many things were also offered as sacrifices to idols, 2 Cor. 6:11-18 say: “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” Also even it’s not sinful to eat foods offered to idols 1 Corinthians 8, because we sanctify them when we give thanks & bless our food, it’s better to avoid them in some circumstances for the sake of the weak believers (vs.9) so the brother won’t fall spiritually & perish.
2/ From blood – Not to eat blood (Deut. 12:23). For the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:10-14). Many pagan religions still today have rituals were they drink blood, why? I believe there is something spiritual there ( but it’s another topic). Also blood carries all the toxins & impurities that need to be clean by the kidneys
3/ From eating strangled animals – (Lev 17: 13) This was referring mainly to birds, the strangled animal is suffocated, deprived of oxygen and if the blood is not taken out then we are eating blood, also the blood of a suffocated animal has more toxins than normal.
4/ From sexual immorality – (Lev.18) it’s very clear.
In the Old Testament if gentiles wanted to join the Jewish community, they had to keep the Sinai covenant, but gentiles are not required to join the “Jewish community” today to be in right standing with the Lord. There is no more Jew nor Greek, but we are all one in Jesus. (Gal.3:28). The HRM interpretation that we have to become ‘Spiritual Israel’ comes from the erroneous assumption that Israel is the only chosen people or elect of God & that Jesus came only to save the House of Israel. We agree Israel was not elected for salvation (Deut. 7:7-9) but for God’s service in His plan, to bring the law, the promises, the Scriptures, the Messiah. God does not predestine or elects any people to everlasting life, but for service, & to “be conformed to the image of his Son“ (Rom.8:9). But we believe Christians are also the elect through Jesus who is the Elect of God, (for His service or a purpose) but we do not become the elect through or by joining Israel. But Jew believer & gentile believers become one in Him, Christ.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” Isaiah 42:1
Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. 1 Peter 2:6 & Isaiah 28:16
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; . . . But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy 1 Peter 2:9-10
We Christians don’t leave for ourselves any more but for Christ, He leaves in us, our lives belong to Him. (Gal.2:20). But we are to stay in Christ to the end.
We don’t get our righteousness from works or obeying the Torah, our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). But we get our righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. And our good works are product of the Holy Spirit working through us, while changing our hearts. We got nothing to boast about!
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).