The Hebrew Roots Movement

There is a movement afoot (small, but rather persistent) to return to the Old Testament way of doing things (and they would argue that the New Testament changes pretty much nothing). This (usually) involves a return to Saturday Sabbath, celebration of the Old Testament feasts (and even non-OT feasts like Hanukkah!), and observance of the Old Testament dietary laws. There have been Messianic Jews around for quite a while, but what is happening now is that previously Reformed people are becoming persuaded by this viewpoint. What I want to do in this post is examine some of the architectonic issues at play, and then respond to some specific things in the blog post linked above.

The first and most important question, when it comes to the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament is this: how do we read our Bibles? This is the question of hermeneutics. What are the principles by which we come to the conclusions we do? Is there such a thing as an apostolic hermeneutic? That is, do the apostles read the OT in a certain way that might not seem obvious to us at first? I do not have time or space to lay this out in full. There are many excellent books on the subject. I would recommend this one. When we look at John 5 and Luke 24, the following picture emerges: the NT is the lens through which we see the OT, and not the reverse. We read the OT in the light of the end of the story, which is Jesus. Jesus Himself tells us in Luke 24 and John 5 that if we read our Old Testaments and do not see Jesus, then we are misreading the Old Testament! This principle can be taken to an extreme, as in the case of Arthur Pink, who, while having many helpful things to say, went a bit overboard on typology. Not every detail is specifically about Jesus. The story as a whole is about Jesus. It organically unfolds in such a way that Jesus is the climax of the OT. To put it mildly, the Hebrew roots movement does not read the Bible this way. For them, the OT is the lens through which they see the NT. As a result, they misread the OT. A very simple question can point out how misguided this is: if the OT is clearer than the NT, then why did we need the NT at all? Hermeneutically, we read the more difficult parts of the Bible in the light of what is clearer.

A second issue I wish to treat is the ignoring or denial of the three-fold division of the law into moral, civil, and ceremonial. Jesus says that there are weightier matters of the law. He castigates the Pharisees for harping on the minor matters, while ignoring the heavier ones. This indicates a distinction within the OT laws. The fact that the Ten Commandments were written by God’s finger on tablets of stone, whereas the rest of the law was written by Moses on more perishable materials also indicates that the Ten Commandments are the most important section of the law, as reflecting the very character of God. The reason this issue is important is that the HRM (Hebrew roots movement) puts all laws in the same category of permanence. There is no such thing, in their minds, as a built-in expiration date of a law. For them, anyone who changes the law is automatically abrogating the law. For them, there is no possibility that there might be underlying principles (general equity) that carries over, but appears in different form in the NT. However, if the three-fold division of the law is an appropriately biblical way of thinking (and see this book for an excellent argument in this direction), then we are not in fact forbidden to wear 50% polyester 50% cotton shirts (two different kinds of threads), nor are we anymore forbidden to take the mother with the eggs. The principles underlying these laws continue today (be discerning about what is holy and what is not, what is conducive for spiritual growth and what is not: don’t mix the world and the church). But they do not apply in the same way today as they did in OT times.

A third issue is that of sources. He quotes this website as “proving” that it was the Roman Catholic Church that changed Saturday to Sunday, and that the NT says nothing of the sort. Is this a credible website, if it claims that the Vatican was at work in the Council of Laodicea in 321 A.D.? Surely Rambo could be more discerning in his choice of sources. All internet sites (including this blog!) must be tested, and not believed simply because they are out there, and because it happens to agree with one’s position. He also quotes this website which gives a quotation of Spurgeon completely out of context. If he had looked at the sermon from a more reputable website, he would have seen Spurgeon’s rather important qualification immediately following the quotation in question: “Nevertheless since, the current of men’s thoughts is led this way just now, and I see no evil in the current itself, I shall launch the bark of our discourse upon that stream, and make use of the fact, which I shall neither justify nor condemn, by endeavoring to lead your thoughts in the same direction. Since it is lawful, and even laudable, to meditate upon the incarnation of the Lord upon any day in the year, it cannot be in the power of other men’s superstitions to render such a meditation improper for to-day.” Precisely. And this is the position of most in the Reformed world who celebrate Christmas. It is an historic position in the Reformed world to reject all holy days except the Sabbath. But it is not a question of choosing between paganism and the biblical position, if there is a third option that is defended as biblical. Hence, Rambo commits the fallacy of false dichotomy in addition to misquoting sources (which, incidentally, is a violation of the ninth commandment).

A fourth issue that I wish to bring up is a brief discussion of Ephesians and Galatians in regard to these very matters. Paul castigated Peter for not eating with Gentiles in Galatians 2. Why did Paul do that? Because Peter was forcing the Galatian Gentiles to live like Jews in order to be saved! See in particular Galatians 2:14. To re-erect the barriers between Jew and Gentile is false teaching. Gentiles do not have to live like Jews in order to be saved. In Ephesians 2:15, Paul says that Jesus has “abolished 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.” First question is this: what does “katargeo” (the word translated “abolished”) mean? According to BDAG, the most reputable Greek Lexicon for the study of the NT, there are 4 possible meanings (context must decide which one is in use here): 1. “to cause something to be unproductive, use up, exhaust” (this does not seem likely, as commandments are not like some sort of usable substance) 2. “to cause something to lose its power or effectiveness, invalidate, make powerless” (BDAG lists Ephesians 2:15 under this definition). This is definitely possible. 3. “to cause something to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside” This is also possible. 4. “to cause the release of someone from an obligation (one has nothing more to do with it), be discharged, be released” This is also possible. About which laws is Paul speaking? In context, it must be the laws that separate Jews from Gentiles. In verses 11-13, Paul speaks particularly of how Gentiles have been brought near, having before been aliens to the people of God. Then, in verse 15, the effect of Christ’s action is to make one new man out of the two. There is now neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ (as he would also say in Galatians). So, the laws that separate Jew from Gentile are “katargeo’ed.” Any of the last three meanings means that Gentiles do not have to observe those laws in order to be part of the body of Christ. What Rambo is doing, then, re-erects the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. It creates barriers between people.

Now, to get to some specific things in the blog post. His overarching issue is anti-semitism, which he expands quite a bit beyond what most people would define as anti-semitism. I would define it simply as hatred for the Jews (and I certainly do NOT hate Jews!). However, Rambo defines it pretty much as anything that is not his viewpoint on the OT. So, if we do not observe the OT feasts, we hate Jews. Or, if we do not observe Saturday Sabbath, we hate Jews. One charge that blew my mind into smithereens was this one:

I called Yeshua by a Greek name, ‘Jesus,’ thus denying, with each use, His real heritage and even who He is. Yeshua means ‘salvation, deliverer.’ What does Jesus mean? There isn’t even a letter ‘J’ or ‘j’ sound in the Hebrew alephbet/language or in Greek!…Changing the name of Yeshua to Jesus denies His Jewishness and is antisemitic to the core. Think about it.

So, transliterations of Hebrew names into Greek and into English constitute anti-Semitism and hatred for Jews? So, why doesn’t he use Hebrew letters instead of English letters? One could argue that even transliteration itself is anti-Semitic. Why does having a “j” instead of a iota or yodh (which is a VERY standard transliteration practice) have any relevance whatsoever to anti-Semitism? If it does, then he is still being anti-Semitic for saying “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” instead of “Avraham, Yitzhaq, and Ya-aqov” (gotta make sure that it’s a “q” and not a “k” to represent the letter qav, or else I’m being anti-semitic!). Furthermore, he is not quite correct in his assessment of the name “Yeshua,” which means “The Lord is salvation,” not simply “salvation” or “deliverer.” And, yet further, the name Jesus means exactly the same thing! The Greeks did not change the name when they wrote “Iesous,” nor did English writers change a thing when they wrote “Jesus.” They all mean exactly the same thing, which is not quite what Rambo says it means.

He accuses Presbyterians, Lutherans, and the Reformed denominations of advocating a “covert dispensationalism.” This redefines the term “dispensationalism.” The Presbyterians and the Reformed (and to a lesser extent, the Lutherans) believe in one covenant of grace extending from the proto-evangellion in Genesis 3:15 through the end of the New Testament. There are different administrations of this same covenant, but it is always the same covenant, building later additions on to the earlier ones. There is a progression of the covenants culminating in the new covenant that Christ instituted by His death and resurrection. This is not dispensational in any historical understanding of the term. Rambo seems to think that any change from the OT at all is dispensationalism. If that is true, then we don’t need Jesus at all. Jesus then adds absolutely nothing.

On his quotation of Calvin and Luther, one must be careful to put these quotations into historical context. I would not excuse Luther’s attitude towards the Jews. Neither would just about anyone else alive today. They were different times, however, and we must be careful not to judge the Reformers by our modern cultural situation. As for Calvin, that statement that Rambo quoted is quite mild compared to how he blasted the Roman Catholics. This kind of statement is not something unique in the writings of Calvin, as if he had it in for the Jews in particular. Furthermore, Calvin’s point is that anyone who rejects Jesus as Lord and Savior deserves to have this end. Calvin would have said the same thing about anyone who rejected the Messiah.

This supposed anti-Semitism is then applied as an across-the-board poison that infected everything they wrote. This is HIGHLY fallacious. He says that their anti-Semitism “permeates every doctrine.” This is stunning. Should I accuse Rambo of anti-Semitism because of his mis-transliteration or his mistranslation of a Hebrew term? Or is Rambo simply using this as an excuse to reject anything and everything the Reformers said? Aside from the problem of whether he has interpreted (particularly Calvin) correctly, there is the issue of an illegitimate extension of Calvin’s sayings into all areas of doctrine.

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49 Comments

  1. Mark B said,

    May 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Yes, some members of our church had friends get caught up in this. They are sort beyond JW’s in that they have their own “bible translation” that is even more out there, and Galatians is one of the books that is hardest hit. They claim that our New Testament is corrupt because it was mistranslated from the original Hebrew. There are at least two guys that seem to be leaders (they claim to have received Joseph Smith type revelation direct from God). Thus, I doubt you will be able to have a rational discussion with them from the Bible. Their “bible” is for sale on Amazon, but it’s about $66.00, seems kind of a waste to get just for the purpose of refuting them. This is from memory, it’s been a few years since I had to deal with it, but I might still have something on file somewhere.

  2. Mark B said,

    May 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    To be clear, this is a cult, similar to JW’s or Mormons, in the divergence of their basic principles from those of Scripture.

  3. Mark said,

    May 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I came across a few of these Christians on the internet who observe various Mosaic laws and the Saturday Sabbath. One thing troubles me a lot lately which drives me to change my view on the Sabbath from the WCF view to Calvin’s view is the “mia twn sabbatwn” text (this chronology is the strongest argument against the Sunday sabbath), while the argument against it is not strong and the Good Friday to Easter Sunday chronology makes the “traditional” view even more unstable.

  4. Cris Dickason said,

    May 23, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Surely this “group” or movement is a distraction, unless you actually come across someone (in the flesh) involved in or attracted to this confused jumble of ideas.

    The author on the referenced web site has sufficient self-awareness to note he is a conspiracy theorist. This is akin to that gnostic bent of being someone with the inside knowledge.

    Some of the concepts are just laughable*, having studied linguistics (the study of language, not languages). “Covenant” does not appear in the Grk mss of the NT… OF course not, “covenant” is an English noun. With the exception of a few direct quotes of phrases in Aramaic or Hebrew, the whole Grk NT is in … wait for it … Greek! So, no berit, no covenant, no verbond, no Bund, no foedus or pactum, only diatheke is found in the Grk NT. This is an instance of the word vs concept problem at the level of language.

    *When souls are lead astray, it is not a laughing matter, however.

  5. May 23, 2013 at 2:41 am

    It’s always something isn’t it? If you don’t like one heresy or oddball teaching, don’t worry! Another one will be rolling down the pike every few years or so. Sigh…

  6. May 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

    It would seem that, according to the words of Messiah, one would have to have the lens of the Old Testament to understand who He is. Not the other way around.

    Joh 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you, Moses, in whom you trust.
    Joh 5:46 For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me.
    Joh 5:47 But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My Words?

    Luk 24:25 And He said to them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all things that the prophets spoke!
    Luk 24:26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?
    Luk 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

    Notice He was speaking of the words of Moses and the Prophets testifying of Him and an understanding of them must come first. The OT is the “context of the text” in the NT and what the disciples spent a lot of time explaining to the new believers in the early church. It would appear they also spent a lot of time teaching the Jews of the day who Messiah was from the text of the OT. It’s interesting to note Peter taught from the OT in the 2nd chapter of Acts to explain who Yeshua is what the gift of the Holy Spirit is. It’s also from this context Paul spoke in Acts the 13th chapter. He explained that Yeshua was the fulfillment (brought to fullness the understanding of what was prophesied) of what’s written in the OT. It’s also interesting to note that, the New Testament wasn’t even put together when Yeshua said these things. The OT is simply the foretelling and definition of Yeshua, not the other way around. We could not even understand what redemption, salvation, atonement, etc… even are, if it weren’t for what’s written in the OT. Without the OT, the NT has no context. It was, after all given first for us to understand what was to come through Yeshua. It’s like trying to understand the construction, assembly and operation and of your new BBQ grill by only reading the warranty statement at the end of the assembly manual.

    Peace.

  7. Michael said,

    May 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I guess the irony if there is one comes from two opinions expressed by God to accomplish the same result.

    The one way was set aside by the other. The Lord intended to be born Jewish!

    Here are both opinions:

    And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. No foreigner or hired servant may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exodus 12:43-49 ESV)

    And

    Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 ESV)

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

    With both Passovers strangers and foreigners were in view. Under the first strangers and foreigners complied with the Hebrew legal scheme, the Law. Under the second Hebrews to partake of the New Passover meal complies by Faith. The irony is, i suppose, both Jews, strangers and foreigners exercise Faith by Grace under both the Law and the Grace Passover schemes.

    I guess there is no harm to willingly follow the moral, civil and ceremonial laws of the Jewish culture as long as you are not violating the Law of Christ?

    To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. (1 Corinthians 9:20, 21 ESV)

  8. Mark B said,

    May 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    @ travis number 6
    Yes, some good points about how the importance of the Old Testament. However there is a reason Jesus and the Apostles has to teach the Jews of their day about Jesus (and why we need to teach the Jews of our day) from the OT. The reason is because the coming of the Messiah brought new, continuing revelation about God’s plan. That was the point, the NT explains how Christ fulfills the OT.

  9. May 23, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Mark B,
    Thank you for the insight.
    I was under the impression, according to Yeshua and Paul, that it was because the Jews of the day had abandoned the Torah and were in fact teaching the traditions of men as doctrine:

    Mar 7:6 But He answered and said to them, Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
    Mar 7:7 However, they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
    Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the dippings of pots and cups. And many other such things you do.
    Mar 7:9 And He said to them, Do you do well to set aside the commandment of God, so that you may keep your own tradition?

    Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ………….

    Col 2:20 If then you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to its ordinances:
    Col 2:21 touch not, taste not, handle not;
    Col 2:22 which things are all for corruption in the using, according to the commands and doctrines of men?

    As far as the use of the word “fulfill”. I’m sincerely hoping that you’re not implying it somehow means “to do away with” with as many nowadays believe. The Greek word “pleroo” basically means to fill up or bring to completeness, not to do away with. It’s the same word used when describing the room being filled with the sound of rushing wind in Acts 2:2 and used in 2:38 in the phrase “joy to be full”. None of these means to do away with. I agree that Yeshua is the filling up of the Torah and brings it clearly into focus and brings us to the point of faith to believe and walk in YHVH’s ways. The OT IS the Word of God the apostles and Yeshua preached. Not some new thing as many suppose. Even the Breans looked into the OT (Acts 17:11) to see if what Paul and Silas were preaching was correct. According to Paul, the OT (scriptures) is the proof text form which we are to derive our doctrine:

    2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
    2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.

    Please note, the “Scripture” he is referencing here is the OT (Law, Prophets and writings, the “Tanakh”).

    Peace,
    Travis

  10. Mark B said,

    May 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Travis. So Christ wasn’t the sacrifice once and for all? Hebrews?

  11. May 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Hey Mark,
    Where did I ever imply Yeshua was not? He most definitely was!! Are you saying that the whole of the Law is about sacrifices (not every sacrifice is a sin sacrifice, by the way, some are simply offerings of thanks and such)? According to YHVH it’s not:

    Jer 7:22 For I did not speak to your fathers, nor command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.
    Jer 7:23 But I commanded them this thing, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people; and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it may be well with you.

    It’s about loving YHVH and your neighbor as He prescribes (and describes in the Law) according to both Him and Yeshua:

    Deu 6:4 Hear, O, Israel. Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.
    Deu 6:5 And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

    Lev 19:18 You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Jehovah.

    Mat 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?
    Mat 22:37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
    Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
    Mat 22:39 And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

    Joh 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

    Joh 14:24 He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

    1Jn 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
    1Jn 2:2 And He is the propitiation concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world.
    1Jn 2:3 And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments.
    1Jn 2:4 He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    1Jn 2:5 But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.
    1Jn 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.
    1Jn 2:7 Brothers, I do not write a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which you have heard from the beginning.
    1Jn 2:8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true Light now shines.
    1Jn 2:9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness until now.
    1Jn 2:10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no offense in him.
    1Jn 2:11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because darkness has blinded his eyes.

    These are only a few passages that say the same thing all through the NT. The Torah is what was taught to the early church. It’s what defines the works of the flesh against the works of the Spirit. It’s what defines liberty (walking within Torah) and bondage (being under it). It’s about our hearts being circumcised, not our flesh, to please Him (Deut. 10:16, 30:6). It’s about obedience, not to gain salvation, but because we are adopted into His house to abide by His house rules. The apostle Paul knew and did this as seen in Acts 21:23-29 and he even testified before Felix in Acts 24:14:

    Act 24:14 But I confess this to you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

    It’s all about the combination that pleases the Father and drives the enemy of our souls nuts!! It’s faith in Yeshua and obedience to His instructions:

    Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
    Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints. Here are the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

    Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last.
    Rev 22:14 Blessed are they who do His commandments, that their authority will be over the Tree of Life, and they may enter in by the gates into the city.
    Rev 22:15 But outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and makes a lie.

    Hopefully this will help explain.

    Peace

  12. Brad B said,

    May 24, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I like the way travis has made a point of letting the scriptures speak for him, they may or may not support him fully, but that’s not the point. He’s doing his best to let his view be informed by the Word of God, I can appreciate that. Interpretation can be ratilonally discussed, authority appealed to…etc., raw, mere opinion, not so much.

  13. May 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    In classic dispensationalism, God has two distinct peoples: an earthly people, Israel, and a heavenly people, the church. According to dispensationalism, God administers the course of the history of redemption by means of seven successive dispensations or redemptive economies. During each dispensation, God tests human beings by a distinct revelation of His will. Among these seven dispensations, the three most important are the dispensation of law, the dispensation of the gospel, and the dispensation of the kingdom. While it is not possible in a short essay like this to describe all the distinctives of these dispensations, what is important is dispensationalism’s insistence that God has a separate purpose and a distinct manner of dealing with His earthly people, Israel. During the present era, the dispensation of the church, God has “suspended” His special purposes for Israel and turned His attention, in a manner of speaking, to the gathering of the Gentile peoples through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations. However, when Christ returns at any moment to “rapture” the church prior to a seven-year period of great tribulation, He will resume God’s special program for Israel. This tribulation period will be a prelude to the commencement of the future dispensation of a one thousand-year kingdom upon the earth. For dispensationalism, the millennium marks the period during which God’s promises to Israel, His earthly people, will receive a distinct, literal fulfillment. Only at the end of the dispensation of the millennial kingdom will Christ finally vanquish all of His enemies and introduce the final state.

  14. Mark B said,

    May 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Travis, what hopefully will this help explain? No one is denying that sanctification is part of the Christian life, and that one of the uses of the law is to guide us in that, or that the moral law is abrogated. Pasting verses here that make that point doesn’t lend anything to the discussion, because you are pasting verses that everyone agrees with.
    The point of disagreement seems to be whether or not the part of the law that deals with things like dietary requirements, tassel on your cloak, two types of fiber in cloth, etc. are still in effect. Ancillary to that point is the way this movement deals with the Scripture when its critics bring Scripture to bear on the subject. Specifically, by:
    1. Claiming that the entire New Testament must have been originally written in Hebrew and mistranslated into Greek;
    2. Assuming that this so-called original Hebrew text (which no one actually has) must have said what they think it said and changing the text of Scripture to fit their views (for examples of this read the translation theory in the preface of a Hebraic Roots ‘bible’, if it is included, on things like Ambiguous Words and The Dalet Clause, among other things and then compare the text of the Hebraic Roots ‘bible’ to that of a reliable translation, especially Paul’s letters like Galatians and Ephesians);
    3. Printing this erroneous version of “scripture” and leading people astray with it by burdening them with keeping the part of the Old Testament law that has been abolished.
    Please understand I appreciate your zeal for viewing Scripture as a whole and viewing God’s people throughout all ages as part of the “church”, and the many great Scripture passages you have mentioned. There is a large part of American evangelicalism that could learn much from this movement. I sincerely mean this, for example, there is a group of hyperdispensationalists out there with a Bible College, Radio and TV ministry, ect that believe that Jesus’s twelve disciples won’t be in heaven because they were part of a different dispensation, and the only part of Scripture that applies to us are Paul’s letters, which they consider a different gospel from what Jesus taught and Peter preached. Compared to that, Hebraic Roots is a breath of fresh air. That being said, I still must consider Hebraic Roots a cult because they use their own “scripture” which is blasphemy against the true Word of God.

  15. Mark B said,

    May 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    oops that should be: or arguing that the moral law is abrogated

  16. May 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hey Mark,
    Thanks for your post.
    As to my pasting scripture and according to you brings nothing to the discussion, I would humbly disagree. The honest truth is our opinions, as valuable as they are to us, are insignificant in the overall scheme of things and always subject to change and as such can fail. I know mine has in the 45 years I’ve followed Yeshua. I do know one thing that doesn’t fail, it’s YHVH’s word:

    Luk 16:17 And it is easier for the heaven and earth to pass than for one tittle of the Law to fail.

    1Co 13:8 Charity never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be abolished; if tongues, they shall cease; if knowledge, it will be abolished.
    1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
    1Co 13:10 But when the perfect thing comes, then that which is in part will be caused to cease.

    Since having the lobe of the ear of my heart driven through at the doorpost of my masters house, I gave up the right to hold to my own opinion. He is my master and I defer to His words as He commands. He said they are life to me if I followed them from a heart of love toward Him.

    Concerning the Law (it’s interesting to note the whole of it is spoken of as one thing, I’m thinking “echad” ), I would like to ask, where in scripture is the law partitioned into three parts? There are laws that apply specifically to certain people (Levites, men, women, children, slaves, etc…) just like the laws of the land we live in. For that matter is there really any such thing as OT or NT since much of the OT hasn’t even happened yet? I do know that Moses said in Deut 8:3:

    Deu 8:3 And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger, and then He fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did your fathers know it, so that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of Jehovah man shall live.

    It’s interesting to note, this passage is spoken to Satan by Yeshua in Matt 4:4 and Luke 4:4 (there’s an interesting “coincidence” both in 4:4, 4 being the day the heavenly bodies were created to tell us where in His plan we are and to show the difference between light and darkness). Yeshua didn’t give an opinion or anything like that but simply spoke the scripture. Where does one find the largest collection of actual quotes from the mouth of YHVH? It’s in the Torah, Prophets and Writings, the Tanakh, the “bible” Paul and Yeshua (The Word made flesh) referenced as their basis for doctrine. I assure you they did not subscribe to the “three divisions of the law” (a manmade delineation). If they did, they would have taught extensively on it as they did on the rest of scripture. In fact Yeshua said that as long as heaven and earth exist not one jot or tittle would be changed or be done away with:

    Mat 5:17 Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
    Mat 5:18 For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled.

    Has all been fulfilled? I think not. His Word (words) still stand. As far as the whole “should we do this or that” thing (I noticed you didn’t mention Sabbath (which YHVH said to be sure you don’t forget or neglect) or His Feast Day’s observances), it’s really very simple. Where’s one’s heart? Is it toward the Father and as little children wanting to imitate Him and walk in obedience to His ways (Yeshua did, in fact, wear tassels and such and was careful to observe all things in Torah)? Or, do we want to walk in our own ways but still receive the blessings He said would follow those who walk according to His instruction. According to YHVH we can’t. It’s what kept the first generation out of Egypt from entering into the promised land (see Joshua 5:6). As a side note on Joshua 5 notice in the text that they were being circumcised the “second” time in chapter 5, verse 2? What was their first circumcision? I think you can see the answer for yourself in Deut. 10:16 and 30:6. It’s always been about the heart and the fruit being obedience to YHVH. I do know that in several places it’s written if we choose His instruction we live (are blessed) and if not, we die (are cursed). It is really that simple, if we want to please YHVH, we, out of a heart of love (gratitude for our deliverance from death into life) for Him, obey His commandments whether we agree with them or not, whether we understand them or not and most assuredly whether our culture approves or not. I do find it interesting concerning the dietary instructions that the first two times (of three) the phrase is recorded “be holy for I am holy” is concerning the dietary instructions. It’s this text Peter references when talking about living a sanctified life in 1 Peter 1:16. I guess you are, in some respects (according to YHVH anyhow) what you eat (notice Peter refused to eat in Acts 10th chapter). Obedience in faith has always been about the heart of love for YHVH. Doing our own thing which seems right in our eyes outside of His instructions for us is an abomination to Him (see Isaiah 66, verse 17 is interesting when discussing the whole dietary thing). Personally, I choose obedience. If that’s silly (wearing tassels and such) to some, so be it. I am not in the least bit interested in the approval of men and am interested in the approval of only one, my salvation and Lord Yeshua. It may be offensive to some but I in no way desire, or do, it to be. At the end of the day (or end of days, as it were) we’ll be judged by how we followed His commandments. Is it a matter of perfection in doing so? YHVH knows full well we are simply dust with His breath in us:

    Psa 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
    Psa 103:11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him.
    Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
    Psa 103:13 As a father pities his children, Jehovah pities those who fear Him.
    Psa 103:14 For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust.
    Psa 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
    Psa 103:16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more.
    Psa 103:17 But the mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness is to sons of sons;
    Psa 103:18 to those who keep His covenant, and to those who remember to do His Commandments.

    Yeshua said as well in Matt 5:19,20:

    Mat 5:19 Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.
    Mat 5:20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

    Personally I prefer to be in the latter group. It would be well if those who are shepherds over YHVH’s flock to do the same. Nowhere in the bible does it go well for those who hold their traditions over the Words of YHVH. It didn’t go well in Yeshua’s day (when traditions of men were taught as doctrine with a heavy emphasis on Torah without much mention of grace) and it won’t go well today and in the future (where traditions of men are taught as doctrine with a heavy emphasis on grace and a convenient dismissal of Torah). I am not in the least trying to be confrontational or judgmental in any way and one may wonder how I can make such a statement. I humbly and simply ask, what observances in modern christianity are recorded anywhere in the bible? The truth is, none of them. Is the scriptures really the basis for our doctrine and practice in the church? Yet the whole time we’re told in scripture to obey His commandments to enter into His life. Everything we do, from sunday worship to holidays observed are the traditions of men while we abandon the ways of YHVH he specifically commanded in the text, Yeshua did as our example and the early church and apostles walked in as well! Every prophet in the bible is recorded and seen calling the people of YHVH to return to YHVH’s instructions and give up their own ways. Ironically and sadly, they were persecuted and eventually killed for it, many times by the religious elite, no less. The truth is, we want to do our own thing from our own wisdom:

    Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

    It got us into trouble in the garden of Eden and that thing dogs us to this day. If we abandon “our broad way” and follow in YHVH’s “narrow way” we will have life. If we quit trying to find a technicality to get out of walking in His ways and simply obey out of love for Him He will reveal Himself to us even fuller.

    Now about this “using their own bible”. Honestly I don’t really know what you’re talking about. The passages I sent were from the MJKV which is accepted by many. I personally have issues with it and most, if not all, the translations and paraphrases as they all have bias of some sort. Many are outright misleading. After all, there are many “versions” out there. I personally look at many of them and refer to Greek and Hebrew words and culture for contextual clarification. I will state that I am not classically trained in either Greek or Hebrew but I am learning as fast as I can. Yes, there is a “Hebrew Roots Bible” out there. I have one and in some passages I like it, in others I don’t. There are some who use “The Scriptures” and some that use “The Jewish Bible”. Both of the latter texts place the proper name of YHVH in Hebrew in the text as well as the Hebrew names of the characters and places. I even have a copy of the Delitzch Hebrew gospels that I hope to get into at some point as well. The key here is “study to show ones self approved”. The problem with all of us (myself included, wretch that I am) gravitate to a version that we have a propensity to agree with. In doing so we make ourselves and our thoughts the primary as we decide what’s correct and what’s not that’s written. This was the error of the oral tradition in Yeshua’s day and much of the commentary today. We tend to look at the scriptures in light of the commentary rather than the other way around. When we do this, we hold our opinion above the actual “words of YHVH”. Which “version” is correct? Honestly, who knows at this point since we do not possess any of the original manuscripts. Whether the original manuscripts are written in Hebrew or Greek who can know? I do know this though, both Yeshua and Paul are recorded speaking in Hebrew (Matt 27:46, Acts 21:40). It was, after all, their “mother tongue”. It’s possible when writing to the gentiles Paul wrote in Greek, it’s not recorded, to my knowledge, either way. I also know in any translation certain concepts are not easily or accurately transferred in the translation. It would do us all well to learn Hebrew and get a glimpse of what it means to be Hebrew to more fully understand the concepts and terms used in the text. All the writers of the bible were, after all, Hebrew. I know Yeshua will work it all out when He returns (part of the whole “rod of iron” thing). The real question is, will we be found faithfully watching for His return with our lamps burning brightly, obedient to His commandments, loving and serving one another, or will He find us squaring off, accusing each other as being in error and arguing about whether someone is using “our approved version” of the bible or casting out demons in His name but they are not one of us (see Mark 9:38-40). I prefer the former. But then again, who am I but a simple chicken farmer who loves my YHVH with all my heart (even now I write this in tears), my soul, my strength and trying to faithfully (albeit imperfectly) love my neighbor and the brothers as Yeshua loved us.

    Peace

  17. Mark B said,

    May 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Travis “(notice Peter refused to eat in Acts 10th chapter)” And did not God respond with a rebuke? Move on to Acts 15. What was the response of the Jerusalem Council to the party of the Pharisees who rose up and said “It is necessary to circumcise them and order them to keep the law of Moses” The view of the party of the Pharisees was rejected, the council said: For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15: 28-29). When Paul visits Jerusalem in ch 21 the same thing is reiterated.
    I can’t paste a book on textual analysis, available Biblical manuscripts, and translation principles here, so suffice it to say that I don’t have any “approved version”, but that generally a wide group of scholars, including atheists, can agree on the correct translation of something; my point was that the Hebraic Roots translation I’ve looked at does not follow these methods but rather proceeds as I outlined above.
    I agree with your sentiment “will we be found faithfully watching for His return with our lamps burning brightly, obedient to His commandments, loving and serving one another” and loving God “with all my heart.., my soul, my strength and trying to faithfully (albeit imperfectly) love my neighbor and the brothers as [God] loved us” However, we don’t do that by sewing tassel on our cloaks. My concern in posting here is the same concern Paul, the Gentile Churches, and the Apostles and Elders in the Hebrew Church had when they addressed the Judeizers, to oppose those who would go against the clear teaching of Scripture and burden the people of God with things no longer required.
    I guess I could keep on in this vein forever, but I’m not sure it will accomplish anything, and I’ve tied up enough of this thread. I appreciate you have making clear your views, and I must move on, as I also have my own chickens to tend.
    *With the understanding that my time is limited, if you wish to correspond on various points out of a true desire for information, feel free to privately ask the blog administrator for my email.

  18. Thomas Martin said,

    May 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    @Mark

    I believe the church in Jerusalem was actually under the headship of James the Just, brother of JESus, and it was by James’ guidance that Peter stpped eating with the Gentile converts. When one sees the list of churchs that Peter was discipling/planting [1 Peter] it is quite clear that even though Peter tried to primarily infuence the Jewish expatriates in the gentile world that he or his collegues frequently crossed paths with Pauls churches. Thus Paul planted his “index finger” into Peters chest in his public scolding at the Jerusalem church.

  19. Thomas Martin said,

    May 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Apostolic hermeneutics in not the preaching heard in the “Holiness” church since the Enlightenment, but it was also much more “supernatural” then the “frozen” preaching that would exchange “evangelism” for “orthodoxy”, as in our 21st century confessional church.

  20. Thomas Martin said,

    May 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    A quick read on Apostolic Hermeneutics is ths extract from the Westminster Theological Journal cited here http://peterennsonline.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/AposExegWTJ-fall%2003-final.pdf

  21. Don said,

    May 26, 2013 at 2:36 am

    traviswhughey #16,

    this passage is spoken to Satan by Yeshua in Matt 4:4 and Luke 4:4 (there’s an interesting “coincidence” both in 4:4, 4 being the day the heavenly bodies were created to tell us where in His plan we are and to show the difference between light and darkness).

    I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting numerology to show up in this “theology,” but neither am I really surprised. You realize that chapters and verses were added in the late Middle Ages, right?

    Furthermore, I am also kind of surprised that you can read Joshua 5:2 and 5:6, wondering what the “first circumcision” was, while missing the answer given in verses 4 and 5.

  22. May 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hey Mark,

    I agree, this has taken up a lot of time from each of us, but I can think of no greater, more important task than speaking the truth in love. As such, and for the benefit of those following this thread, I cannot take this offline as the statements made are in the public domain and need to be addressed in such. I will give this warning to those who are following this, this post is l-o-n-g. I trust those reading are not of the “twitter bite” mentality and enjoy digging into the Word. [Moderator note: With Travis's permission I've provided links for most of his selected passages, so it's not quite as long as it was before. PB]

    About Acts 10. Where is the rebuke? I see a command to not call anything He has called clean unclean or common but there is no specific textual indication of a rebuke ( i.e. “and he rebuked him saying….”) as stated clearly in other places in the bible. If it were a rebuke, the Lord would be rebuking Peter for refusing to break His Fathers commandments. It’s a contradiction from that perspective. All I see is a “statement of fact” as it relates to a vision. Peter obviously, at first, thought this vision was about food (an incorrect assumption that exists even today) but on consideration was puzzled about it’s meaning:

    Act 10:17 And while Peter doubted within himself what the vision which he had seen might be, even behold, the men who were sent from Cornelius had asked for Simon’s house and stood on the porch.

    Visions are funny that way and, are most times, not to be taken literally. No more so than the fellow in Gideon’s army having a dream of a barley cake knocking down a tent and that meaning a barley cake would effect Israel’s victory over the Midianites. One of the things we do see in Acts 10 is Peter passing the Deut. 13:1-5 test [PB: i.e., of the true prophet].

    It’s interesting to note Paul, writing to the Galatians, even invokes the same provision in the 1st chapter (Gal. 1:8-9).

    Fascinating and telling statement since, it is in this letter, many believe Paul teaches the Torah has been abrogated, yet we see the writer invoking the same? Hmmm….. Anyhow, I digress. Notice this vision is years after Yeshua’s death, resurrection and ascension. One would think if the dietary instructions had been done away with, Peter would have had no issue with killing and eating and enjoying a pulled pork sandwich or some squirrel perleau (I’m from the south). His immediate response is astonishment that the voice from Heaven would even suggest such a thing as breaking the Torah! If Yeshua had taught His disciples to disobey the dietary laws (remember it’s part of being holy as He is holy) he would, in fact, according to Deut 13:4, be a false prophet and it most definitely would disqualify Him as Messiah and rightly get Him stoned so as to remove evil from their midst. Remember Moses spoke of Him and said Messiah would be a person like Moses and speak Torah to the people. Torah is truth, after all. (cf. Deut. 18:18-19; John 14:10-11; John 14:15-17; John 14:23-24, 26; Ps. 119:141-142)

    Who did Yeshua say He was?

    Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

    He said He was in fact the living Torah, the living words of YHVH.

    The simple truth is, Peter is nowhere recorded to have eaten anything unclean or common (contaminated) as he truly stated as is also true of any of the apostles. Was His refusal to eat being disobedient to Yeshua (he does, after all, identify the voice as that of his “Master”). I don’t think so as we see later in the text that the vision had absolutely nothing to do with food at all, per Peter’s own revelation (Acts 10:27-28, 34-35).

    Notice the tie in to Deuteronomy 13:4? Now we see the point of it all. Peter is being taught to not see gentiles as inherently unclean (according to Rabbinic law, NOT Mosaic Law/Torah) and as such be willing to freely associate and even sit at the table with them and eat. This subjection to Rabbinic authority (very powerful at the time, much like denominations today) and the confusion it causes is what Paul speaks about in Galatians 2:14 when explaining his confrontation with Peter. These judaizers are the ones who over reach the Torah and teach such as Torah itself. Notice what the Torah actually says about eating with those who are unclean/common: Deut. 12:15-16.

    It says both the clean and unclean person may eat their fill!! Not that they are allowed to eat unclean things, by the way.

    Yeshua dealt with these judaizers in His day as well as recorded in Mark the 7th chapter, which, by the way was never about eating unclean foods as prescribed in Leviticus 11th chapter. Once again, if Yeshua did so, it would disqualify Him from being Messiah. He was after all, the living Torah. (See Mark 7:5-9)

    Now on to Acts 15th chapter:

    When I said “(where traditions of men are taught as doctrine with a heavy emphasis on grace and a convenient dismissal of Torah)” I had no idea it would be demonstrated so quickly. You pull your text from Acts 15:28-29:

    Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these necessary things:
    Act 15:29 that you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which, if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Be prospered.

    This is a partial quote from what was said originally in Acts 15:18-21.

    I’m wondering why you didn’t reference the exact decision as recorded and instead walked over it to get to the “paraphrase” that would substantiate your personal bias? Is this not a bit misleading?

    Notice in verse 21 the new gentile believers are seen getting instruction from Moses every sabbath? If the Law has been basically done away with, why are the new believers instructed by the council in Jerusalem to learn the Law of Moses/Torah? The simple answer is, it had not! It was, and is, in fact the basis for the doctrine preached by the apostles (2 Tim 3:16-17). After all according to Acts 21:19-24 (you referenced) we see Paul happy to demonstrate this [PB: i.e., in sponsoring some men who had taken a vow so that "all may know that what they have been told about you is nothing, but you yourself also walk orderly and keep the Law."].

    Interesting we see again, those who do the commandments and have the faith of Yeshua (Rev. 1:9, 12:17 and 14:12). Once again we see the effect of these judiazers (let’s think of them as hyper-Law). They were so blinded by their tradition they had even borne false witness (a violation of the 9th commandment) against Paul saying he had taught not to circumcise their children on the 8th day as specifically laid out in Leviticus 12:1-3.

    Paul, by his own testimony exposed their false witness and refuted believing anything against the Law and Prophets (see Acts 24:13-14).

    Same thing happened to Stephen in Acts 6:13-14.

    Notice it was “false witnesses” saying these guys were teaching the Law had changed or been done away with? It’s ironic, that today, that’s called good theology!!

    This was the same crowd that in Acts 15:1 we see misrepresenting the Law of Moses and demanding the new believers to be circumcised “to be saved”:

    Act 15:1 And certain ones who came down from Judea taught the brothers, saying, Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.

    Nowhere in the Law of Moses/Torah is it a requirement to first be circumcised in your flesh to be saved.

    This is the “yoke” spoken of in Acts 15:10:

    Act 15:10 Now therefore why do you tempt God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

    YHVH cannot be tempted with His own word!! What does anger Him though is when follow our own ways and teach others it’s the way of YHVH.

    This was the over-reach of Torah of rabbinic tradition and Paul even taught about such in Romans 4:1-3 and also in Galatians 3:1-14.

    It is interesting to note Paul later circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3).

    Paul is never against circumcision in itself if a person chooses to do so as a sign of their covenant with YHVH. He is very against it being a “means” of salvation. There is no contradiction here at all. In fact a simple following through of what’s written in Torah. I can’t help but think Timothy, out of a heart of love did not want to be a stumbling block to any of the Jews according to Leviticus 19:14.

    Timothy was willing to endure the pain of circumcision himself so as not to contaminate his testimony. This is a beautiful example of following Yeshua and loving others over your own comfort and at your own personal sacrifice (see John 15:12).

    You see “salvation by works” is the issue here with these judiazers and the basis for the misunderstanding of those who criticize those who choose to follow Torah in their lives today. The story is as old as time with the juxtaposition of “Letter of the Law” vs. “Spirit of the Law”. I choose the latter as James teaches (2:14-24).

    Now, back to what the council in Jerusalem stated in Acts 15. Every one of the four things they instructed the new gentile believers to do are specifically taught in Torah and at least two of them are concerning the dietary laws!

    “abstain from pollutions of idols”: Ex. 20:2-6

    “fornication”
    The whole of Leviticus the 18th chapter as only one place. Far too much said on this one to paste here.

    “and from things strangled, and from blood”: Deu 15:23

    The problem nowadays is, so many (myself included (I’m changing that)) are simply unfamiliar with the Torah and have no real basis for understanding what the apostles taught. So many are relying on the bias of their own cultural/denominational world view. We’re reading our bias into the text and trying to understand it without first getting to know the context. I believe it’s called “eisegesis”. What some call “The Hebrew Roots Movement” (I personally abhor such titles as my identity is in Yeshua, not some movement) is simply a call to come back to the ways of the Father, the Torah. It’s the same message Yeshua and the apostles taught. Do I agree with everything that’s said? Of course not. Neither did the apostles agree with everything that was being taught in their day. If it’s seen as a cult from those who intentionally leave out part of the text to substantiate their own presupposition, so be it. I ask what’s worse, misleading the text or reading from a “contaminated” one? The end result is the same. I, personally, will only be too happy to stand before the Father some day with the accusation leveled against me that I in faith, from a heart of love, chose to obey His commandments. Even if it means doing something so culturally ridiculous as wearing blue and white strings on my clothing as a reminder of the covenant I have with YHVH through Yeshua, my accountability to YHVH, His commandments, myself to follow them, and everyone who sees me, to represent YHVH well and by no means, as a means to righteousness in itself. (Num. 15:37-40)

    Men have created this grand “tug of war” between Grace and Law, not our Father. Those Judiazers of the past who overreach the conditions of YHVH’s instructions and demand others do so are pulling everyone to “Law only” are pulling against those nowadays (lets call them Grace -izers) who want to pull everything to the side of grace and basically reject the Torah as some kind of bondage. According to James, it is, in fact the Law of Liberty and we are to walk as if we’re to be judged by it (James 2:12). Those who walk in it are free, those who don’t are brought under it, into bondage. In the middle, of this “tug of war” is where YHVH’s will is. Both sides need to yield (submit to one another) and allow the tension to vanish and fall headlong into that place where we, by grace walk out YHVH’s ways (Torah) as Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-10.

    Each side, while having a component of the whole is in itself walking in error being puffed up in their own minds by their own definition of YHVH’s design. Walking in Truth is just that, Having the Truth/Yeshua/Torah effectually working through us in our day to day lives. This, by the way, is His definition of Love (cf. 1 John 2:1-8; 1 John 5:1-3).

    Peace

  23. May 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Hey Don,
    Oh yes, I do in fact know that neither chapter and verse delineations nor do punctuation, for that matter, occur in the original Hebrew texts. Thankfully Chapter and verse was added as a reference for us to quickly find the passages. Kinda like an old timey eSword :).
    As I stated, I just find it interesting. Not that it’s tied by a hard line to numerology, just an interesting “coincidence”. That’s all.

    Now concerning the first and second circumcision (the biblical model, by the way). I said in the post referenced:

    “What was their first circumcision? I think you can see the answer for yourself in Deut. 10:16 and 30:6. It’s always been about the heart and the fruit being obedience to YHVH.”

    Deu 10:16 Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stiff-necked.

    Deu 30:6 And Jehovah your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed, to love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

    It’s all bout our hearts being in Love with YHVH first. This is what Yeshua spoke about in Matt:

    Mat 22:35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked, tempting Him and saying,
    Mat 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?
    Mat 22:37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
    Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
    Mat 22:39 And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

    Every passage that speaks of circumcision of the heart is directly linked to love. This is the whole basis and operation of the Torah. The point I was making was that we see Joshua circumcising the men of war the second time. How could this be the “second time” if they had not been circumcised in the first place (according to the text in Joshua 5:4-5)? The thing being seen here is Israel was able to enter into the promised land by first believing (circumcision of their heart), going through the baptism (new birth “in water”, as it were, see John the 3rd chapter) of crossing the Jordan River and by works following through with the sign of the covenant being permanently made in their flesh and then able to enter into the land. Joshua (actually shares the same name as Yeshua) is a very Messianic figure in the Tanakh. Once again we see faith and works/obedience coupled together for us to enter into His promises.

    Peace

  24. Thomas Martin said,

    May 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Within the “Baggins” blog-o-sphere the Cessionists advocates and the Sacred Name Movement cultists can be directed to the Gospel of Mark 16:14-20 for one Trinitarian Judeo-Christian view point.

  25. Don said,

    May 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    traviswhughey 23,

    As I stated, I just find it interesting. Not that it’s tied by a hard line to numerology, just an interesting “coincidence”. That’s all.

    No, it’s not an interesting coincidence. It’s just a coincidence. That’s all. Reading anything else into it is numerology.

    Every passage that speaks of circumcision of the heart is directly linked to love.

    This is mostly true [I'm not sure about Jeremiah 4:4 (really!)], but the Joshua passage speaks nothing about “of the heart.” This is physical, bloody, circumcision being reinstated after the command of Leviticus 12:3 was neglected in the wilderness. A fresh start on the practice. A re-start. Instituting it a second time. This passage is pretty much straightforward narrative.

  26. Frank Aderholdt said,

    May 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Oh, so that’s what this thread is about. I thought the subject was Hebrew grammar – you know, nouns and verbs and such.

  27. May 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Hey Don,
    I hear you. The point I was trying to make is, what we see here is a type and shadow (a pattern) of the “New Birth”. Notice in Deuteronomy 30:6 Moses is speaking of a future time specifically, but is it not also what has happened to them? Are they the stiff-necked rebellious people like the generation before them? I think not. I believe their hearts were circumcised (believed in their hearts) for them to even take the next step which was “baptism” through Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant right there in the middle of it. Circumcision of the flesh follows salvation not before (as in the Judaizers in Acts 15:1). Once again we see faith and works combined to possess the land. This is a strong theme running in many places. This is why Yeshua seemed a bit surprised that Nicodemus wasn’t familiar with the concept in John 3:10. There again the Tanakh being the context of the text. Note the similarity of Joshua 5:9 and 2 Cor 5:17.

    Peace

  28. May 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Hey Don,
    About Jeremiah 4:4. Being warned of impending judgement if one doesn’t change their ways, is love. Being disciplined is also a sign of our sonship and YHVH’s love for us (Heb. 12:5-13). We have a choice, Blessing or cursing, Law of sin and death or Law of life in Yeshua. His discipline helps the less obedient among us to make it to the end of the race as long as we yield to it and circumcise out hearts.

  29. Paulette Lindler said,

    May 28, 2013 at 8:26 am

    After reading the article and the comments, I have a question. If the Old and New Testament are not equally relevant and as timely today as in the past, why do women still suffer from child birth. In (NIV) Genesis 3:16, “To the woman, YHWH said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing.” This was not just for the Jews, but for ALL YHWH’s children; so, is the Word in its entirety. We do not get to pick and choose what we want to keep and what we want nailed to the cross.

    Yeshua said in Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the LAW or the PROPHETS, I have NOT come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the TRUTH, (until heaven and earth disappear), NOT the smallest letter, NOT the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the LAW until everything is accomplished. ANYONE who breaks one of the least of these commandments and TEACHES others to do the same will be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven’.”

  30. paigebritton said,

    May 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Paulette,
    Reading your comment I can’t tell if you are asking a sincere question and would be willing to dialogue about this, or if you are asking a rhetorical question because you feel very strongly about what you already believe. Are you open to the back-and-forth of conversation about this? There are many of us participating here who could give an explanation for the different understanding we hold, if you are really interested.
    pax,
    Paige B. (moderator)

  31. Paulette Lindler said,

    May 29, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Paige,
    Yes, I was asking a question about how others feel about the fact that many curses as well as blessings have followed us from the beginning of Biblical times to today. How do brothers and sisters in Yeshua answer that question when the major part of the Old Testament is not being accepted by them. There is such continuity between the 2 Testaments that makes it The Complete Word of YHWH. Once anyone understands that and looks for that continual thread, you will find it. Abba’s Word is nothing but Love beyond our understanding.

    Let’s take clean/unclean food as an example. The Leviticus 11 teaching is for our health. I grew up in the country and my family ate everything in a pig from the “snoot” to the “toot”. Oh how I loved pork! Matthew 7:7 has always been one of my favorite Bible passages, “Ask, seek and knock and you will find and the door will be opened to you.” Because of Yeshua’s teaching on this scripture, when the clean/unclean teaching came to me, I prayed and sought what He wanted me to do. Yeshua spoke to my heart and I will never knowingly eat anything connected to pork in any way. That’s the difference. We all have to be open to His teachings and be willing to follow Him at all times. By the way, my cholesterol level dropped and the joint pain disappeared after I stopped eating pork. Our Father’s Word is perfect, the same yesterday, today and forever.

  32. Thomas Martin said,

    May 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

    The Completed Jews or Jews for Jesus, do not hold to the tenets of HRM or The Sacred Name movement. They view the HRM or The Sacred Name movement as a fringe group, They would characterize them as the Gentile & Messianic Jews Karaite movement.
    Historically, since the 2nd century BCE, the Karaite Jews would not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Mishnah or Talmud and held strictly to the written Torah.

    The Karaite faction was viewed by Rabbinical Jews as misguided anti-semite. Messianic Jews often depict Jesus as the greatest Karaite by mistranslating Matthew 23:1-3, by use of the Shem Tov Hebrew translation of Matthew. Jesus presented His Oral Torah with Apostolic commentary and is defined by all Christians today as the New Testament.

  33. Reed Here said,

    May 29, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Paulette: Lev 11 does not teach that the dietary laws were for physical health reasons. Rather, all of the Levitical law was intended to teach the OT believers about the need for spiritual cleanliness and one’s inability to secure that via ANY fleshly means, including the Mosaic dietary laws.

    And bacon? Eh, its o.k,. Now salt pork, … that’s reason to drool. ;-P

  34. Reed Here said,

    May 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Lane’s post here is just scratching the surface. I’ve noticed a size-able number of folks moving toward Messianic Christianity. Most of these are Gentiles tired of the weak experience of the Christian life that is common across most denominations in the Evan-jellyfish that is the American Evangelical Church.

    Sadly, they are opting for a form of Christianity that is based on at best the rabbinic Judaism that was the successor to unbelieving OT Judaism when the Temple was destroyed. As a result, these folks have moved, albeit often with sincerity, toward a form of slavery in worship and life that is actually worse than the weakness they left behind.

    Wish it weren’t so, but …

  35. thomas Martin said,

    May 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    @ Reed

    Just to concur with your assessment that the post only scratches the surface, in general, “people of the scriptures” who convert to Christianity will hold on to daily practices of the law. This can be seen by the Islamic converts to Christianity who continue to follow the halal dietary laws and pray 5 times a day.

    Ritual becomes idolatry and when orthodox christians face the freedom of worship brought by the reformed missionaries they too often return to the faith of ritual that was the religion of their “fathers”. Ultimately, so they may be in the “heaven” of their “fathers”. Faith and the practice of religion is still relational.

  36. Paulette Lindler said,

    May 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Reed,

    Simplistically thinking…if YHWH tells you not to eat something because it is unclean..can one assume that it is not good for your health. When I went seeking info about these “unclean” animals/birds, I found that they have impaired digestive systems not allowing toxins and poisons to escape the animal easily with you ingesting these toxins and poisons as well. I also found out that many of the fish/shrimp etc. that are not allowed are “bottom feeders” and ocean “vacuum cleaners”.

    Let’s go to (NIV) Isaiah 66:17-22 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats (please note they are together in the same reference) and other abominable things – they will meet their end together,” declares the Lord.” Only 5 verses later in verse 22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord……These are the end times that John was speaking of in Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away…” Each of us can decide the value of Isaiah’s teachings in our spiritual life. Is it really worth a piece of bacon or fatback?

    Do you think that Yeshua worshiped on Saturday, ate only kosher food – never unclean, celebrated all the festivals instituted by YHWH in Leviticus 23;1? If you feel that He did observe all the Torah laws with perfection, never ate unclean foods and celebrated all YHWH’s feasts and festivals, are we not all striving to be as He was and do as He did?

  37. Reed Here said,

    May 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Paulette, look at some of the resources listed in my follow up post, at the bottom. Also, consider this sermon on Lev 11-15.

    Plain and simple, not all the Levitical prescriptions deal with dietary restrictions. Nothing in the text tells us the reason not to eat these things is because they are unhealthy for us. It is an error to read into the Bible one’s own opinion. I agree completely we need to take God’s word seriously – and that requires us to NOT read our own opinions into it.

    I recognize you are responding with sincerity and real conviction. I mean no disrespect. On the contrary I think you are committing a grave offense, one that God judges with the strictest of responses (Dt 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18-19). The interpretation that the dietary laws are: 1) about health issues, and 2) still apply today, are additions and subtractions to God’s word. The Bible not only does not teach this, but something altogether different.

    One more point to consider, why are you calling unclean what God has declared clean? Peter almost got into serious trouble over that, both in Acts 10 and in Gal 2. Think about it :)

  38. CD-Host said,

    May 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I’m a bit late to this thread. Most Messianics I know believe in rather mainstream Assemblies of God type theology, since the Messianic movement came out of AoG. In terms of practice it is Christianity with a bit of flavor from Rabbinic Judaism thrown in, it is not Rabbinic practice in full at all. The main appeal AFAICT is to people who are 1/2 Jewish 1/2 Protestant or families. It works as sort of a compromise faith. On the surface it looks Jewish and theologically it is mainstream evangelical.

    I think its rather hard to engage Messianic Judaism intellectually on the sorts of narrow issues in this post because it isn’t a faith that makes stable intellectual claims. Ultimately a restorationist faith, and as such it can draw on a much wider range of sources including rabbinic sources. As a faith it doesn’t have systematic theology, each messianic jew sort of builds their own theological frameworks out of the pieces. The ties of AoG is what keeps them in the Protestant frame and the dilemma for them is to reframe AoG theology in Messianic terms. Look to deep and the entire thing falls apart. On the other hand, Rabbinic Judaism has a deep, well considered, arguably even more faithful to the text approach to biblical hermeneutics. I think you underestimate Rabbinic Judaism’s analysis by thinking there aren’t responses to these sorts of claims.

    So for example. I certainly think you can’t assume the 3 fold distinction of the law in Reformed faith. In discussing this you mention mixing fabrics, well improper mixing is the basis for the laws against homosexuality, which you want to uphold. It is almost impossible to go through Leviticus and in any non ad-hoc way determine which lines are merely ceremonial and which moral. Particular since the text itself and the later prophets are unambiguous that the ceremonial is the moral. Messianic Jews aren’t going to buy this argument and they shouldn’t.

  39. Pete Rambo said,

    May 30, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Reed,
    You say, “I agree completely we need to take God’s word seriously – and that requires us to NOT read our own opinions into it.” Then you say, “why are you calling unclean what God has declared clean? Peter almost got into serious trouble over that, both in Acts 10 and in Gal 2.”

    We need to go to Acts 10 and take a look at what the text says, not what you say it says.

    Dreams and visions must always be interpreted by the text. The sheaves bowing down to Joseph’s was not an agricultural anomaly (Gen. 37), the ladder to heaven was not about home improvement products (Gen. 28:10ff); the runaway barley loaf vision overheard by Gideon was not about a baking disaster (Judges 7:13-14) and Peter’s vision of the sheet was not about food. Instead of imposing ham sandwiches on the text, I suggest we see if the text defines the vision…

    Context: Peter knows the Torah is perfect, delighting the soul, giving life and making wise the simple. It has been roughly ten years since Yeshua’s ascension and Peter has a vision… Notice he says, ‘By no means, I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’ So, while we incorrectly paint him as super dense, he affirms that even after forty days, post resurrection with Messiah and being one of the Apostles, led of the Spirit, he still is eating clean according to Lev. 11. Verse 17 tells us he is ‘greatly perplexed as to what the vision means.’ We make the meaning so simple… ‘d’uh, clean-unclean food’…

    Not so fast my friend. Let the text define the vision!!

    The first hint is vs. 20: ‘go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings…’

    Then we are explicitly told what it means in v. 28-29: ‘God has shown me that I should not call any MAN unholy or unclean. That is why I came without raising any objection when I was sent for.’

    The second witness is vs.34: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.’

    Third witness: Acts 15:7-11… the Gospel can be preached to the Gentiles.

    Recap: The text defines the vision as being about MEN. See, there is NO law in Torah that separates Jew from Gentile. Peter had been abiding by rabbinic (later codified as Talmudic) tradition of separation. We ASSUME that when he went to Cornelius’ house they shared a BLT. Again, not so! Acts 10:22 says he was a God-fearing righteous man… The definition of righteousness? Torah. Peter knew full well that he would not be fed any unclean meat in that house. The issue was not food. It was rabbinic tradition of fellowship, the very issue Paul takes him to task for in Galatians 2.

    Now, does Peter say anything else of the sort? 1 Pe. 1:14-17 He is addressing Gentile aliens, previously scattered who are now redeemed in Messiah and he tells them, ‘leave the pagan ways behind. Be obedient children.’ And, he connects behavior with ‘be ye holy as I am holy.’ Might want to look up where that comes from.

    Does Paul concur? 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. ‘Come out, be separate, touch not the unclean, you are the Temple… let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh AND spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’

    It is church tradition that adds and takes away. If breaking the Torah is the definition of sin (1 John 3:4), then keeping the Torah is the definition of righteousness (Deu 6:24-25). Yeshua being the living Word is our righteousness and we are called to walk as He walked.

    Deu. 5:29 rightly says, ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!’
    Shalom.

  40. Thomas "Didymus" Martin said,

    May 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

    @Reed

    It seems to me that one must exercise caution in condemning the sincere application of special revelation [even OT]. When does Exegesis become Eisegesis?

    The liberty in such matters for the individual and their personal theology is by the leading of the Holy Spirit. If one ignores this caveat then they can find themselves guilty of binding the conscience of believers by:
    1. Pharisaical behavior in all of Matthew 23
    2. Behavior mentioned in 1 Corinthians 8.

    I understand that a number of Reformed leaders believe that legalism and moralism are far greater dangers to the church than antinomianism and a lack of holiness. In fact being accused of antinomianism is increasingly considered to be a symptom of a healthy ministry especially by young reformed pastors. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believed there was “no better test” of gospel fidelity than the accusation of antinomianism. So where is the balance?

    The EPC has a nice balance with their essentials versus non-essentials statement added to preface the WCF.

  41. Thomas "Didymus" Martin said,

    May 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

    @ CD-host

    I find a closer association of the Messianic Jewish movement with the Seventh Day Adventist church then the Assemblies of God.

  42. Reed Here said,

    May 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Pete, no. 39: I appreciate that correct exegesis of Acts 10 and Gal 2 are important here. I also recognize that in order to support an on-going application of the Mosaic dietary law one has to in some manner deny the interpretation of these passages that goes all the way back to the earliest Church Fathers, to wit, that the Mosaic dietary laws no longer apply in the Church, the life of faith.

    Of course, one could also look at Acts 15 and the explicit denial of the Mosaic dietary laws found there, but I expect you have an explanation for that too. ;-)

    Let me ask this for now: you’ve offered some substantive comments defending an exegesis of Acts 10 that differs with mine. I’ve merely asserted that I think you are wrong. I acknowledge I’ve not proven anything. For the sake of your and my time, let’s leave this subject alone and just stick with the feasts questions in no. 7 and 8 for now. If we find time and interest down the road we can always come back to this subject. Thanks.

  43. CD-Host said,

    May 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Thomas —

    I find a closer association of the Messianic Jewish movement with the Seventh Day Adventist church then the Assemblies of God.

    Hmm. Well take for example their understanding of the heavenly tabernacle of Hebrews. Messianic Jews and AoG have the mainstream opinion on that, while SDA has an investigative judgement in the heavenly tabernacle. SDA championed conditionalism while most Messianic Jews believe in the classic Protestant immortality of the soul. etc…

    I agree that they both practice a Saturday Sabbath and take the Old Testament Law seriously, but I don’t see much that they have in common once you go a bit deeper into their analysis.

  44. Thomas "Didymus " Martin said,

    May 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    @ CD
    I cite
    http://www.westernseminary.edu/papers/Faculty/DeYoung/heavenly_tabernacle.pdf

    for deeper analysis for my position on SDA on both heavely tabernacle of Hebrews and the heavenly temple of Revelation. I would add JW also.

  45. jsm said,

    May 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    The overarching dilemma for the hebrew roots movement is if you carefully study the OT there are many commands regarding the temple and celebrations that YHVH said should be followed forever are impossible because He has destroyed the temple. The very feasts these people believe should be observed cannot be observed the way the law commands. Also, the hebrew roots movement cannot give a compelling account for why Paul says in Galations if you get circumcised (a perpetual command in the OT) you wil make Christ’s sacrifice useless Gal 5:2. Paul is clearly teaching against a perpetual command from the OT. In my dealings with adherants to this movement two people have actaually taken the claims of the movement to its logical ends. One actually denied the canonicity of the NT. The other claimed Paul ws the first perverter of Christ’s teachings. There is no way to follow the claims of the hebrew roots movement and take Pauls teachings seriously especially when he levels the significance of one day over another. The problem with the HRM hermeneutic is it ignores the drastic change in worship and practice in the NT. The only way to simultaneously give equal weight to Christ’s and Pauls teachings is in theonomy.

  46. Thomas "Didymus" Martin said,

    June 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    @jsm
    Maybe that is the reason many of my Theonomist friends lean toward the Federal Vision.

  47. Thomas "Didymus" Martin said,

    June 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I would disagree with the post in paragraph two. I do not believe that many Reformed Supercessionist would characterize AW Pinks Typology as eccessive …the whole purpose of the OT starting from the proto Evangelium is viewed as merely the provision of types for Christ, the antitype, or fulfillment

  48. Connie said,

    June 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    There is a vast difference between Talmudic and Hebraic thought. Hebraic Roots simply go to back to the Scriptures as a basic guideline. They are how the ‘New Testament’ must be verified. Or have you forgotten the Bereans? If this had been done we wouldn’t have so many denominations.

  49. June 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    […] post — to which my reader referred — is called ‘The Hebrew Roots Movement’. I’ll leave it for you to read, including the comments, however, he notes a trend among […]


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