Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part I
Research into the Hebrew Roots & Messianic movements
constitutes research into Judaism as well as the occult. We fully respect each
persons right to believe or utilize what resources they choose. We however, see
a clear distinction in believing the Messiah has come versus utilizing resources
which still await His coming. That is how and why we must evaluate all to Christ
and the New Testament as well as the Tenach. We do not wish to edit or criticize
Judaism, but recognize it as distinct from our Christian beliefs, just as many
in Judaism also see a distinction and separateness from our beliefs, and we
jointly have mutual respect for our differences and each other.
There is a growing movement within Christianity, which contends that Christians need "to return to their Hebrew Roots." The leaders of this movement purport to be teaching believers the "Hebrew Roots of Christianity" through the study of the Jewish foundational teachings. Having been enjoined to study "Hebrew Roots", it is only reasonable that one must take a close look at the teachings of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots movements, as well as the Hebrew faith itself.
We are reminded in Colossians 2:6-9:
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Is the Hebrew Roots, as some might suggest, merely the study of the Old
Testament, which Christians already study in light of the New Testament?
What do the Hebrew foundational teachings expound with regard to the New Testament, the Messiah, the divinity of Jesus Christ,
the Persons or Manifestations of God, the Bible and the character of God?
I could never accept the concept of being spoon-fed answers to my questions from those promoting the movement or belief that is questionable. To embrace the Hebrew Roots theology without a full review and understanding of its teachings, would be blindness on our part and lead to ignoring the many warnings we find in the Word of God.
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be throughly furnished unto all good works."
- 2 Timothy 3:13-17
We know that many of the Hebrew Roots ministries are connected with each other and with
various other types of ministries. This obligates us to investigate them even more thoroughly.
By examining the HR teachings, those of the Jewish faith and it's mystical exponent, Kabbalism--which is indeed the
concerning root of the Hebrew Roots movement--we will then see if what is taught upholds the Word of God.
Those who have challenged the Hebrew Roots teachings in the past have been dealt with swiftly and with the utmost hostility. For example, a response was forwarded to me that came from one of the Hebrew Roots leadership. This retort was in response to information sent out by another person on various Hebrew Roots issues. This well-known leader, who incidentally, never addressed any of the issues, attacked with the words:
- " You have to be one of the most arrogant/ignorant *** on this earth!!!! You are a total danger to society and to God Himself. Your day will not be what you think it will be!! I would not wish to be in your shoes. You are a deceiver and liar!!!!! You pervert the facts and you totally distort the truth. May God one day forgive you of your stupidity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
This is hardly what one would expect from a "man of God," who claims to belong to Jesus Christ.
Paul admonished Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:24, that:
- "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient."
In James 3: 17,18 we are reminded:
- " But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
In James 3: 8-10 we see:
- "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so
Scripture tells us in Matthew 12:37:
- " For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Those who question this movement have often been accused of anti-semitism. Does the presentation of various Jewish doctrines obtained from Jewish sources constitute anti-Semitism?
It seems unreasonable to conclude that the facts, presented objectively, are inherently anti-Semitic. Moreover, this writer has no bias against the Jews, but looks forward to the salvation of any through Jesus Christ.
This is a search for truth. The information that will be used is from the very beliefs and teachings that we are being asked to embrace.
- "…For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Promoters of Hebrew Roots
This search for truth must test all those involved against such passages as:
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness and wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."
It seems fitting, then, that we examine the teachings of prominent leaders such as Peter Michas of Messengers of Messiah, Avi ben Mordechai of Torah Talk & the B'ne Torah Movement;
Jacob Prasch of Moriel, Larry Rowland of Messengers of Truth and James Trimm of the Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism. We must consider these and the many groups linked to them which are advocating the Hebrew Roots cause. Not all of the individuals and groups mentioned are claiming connections to the Messianic or Hebrew Roots movement, and these distinctions will be noted.
For example, Avi ben Mordechai, a "Nazarene (messianic) halacha" teacher, as stated on his website, (www.millenium7000.com/halacha.htm) in the article Halacha, is very influential within the Hebrew Roots and Messianic leadership. Mr. Mordechai made this pronouncement in an email to Mr. Ed Tarkowski, dated May 8, 1998:
"…I am not a proponent of the "Jewish Roots" or "Hebraic Roots" movement as you or they define the terms. I am a proponent of Torah observance for both Jews and non-Jews which takes "Jewish Roots" information and engages it to become a lifestyle. In other words, it's not Jewish information that I'm teaching in and of itself; It's Jewish information with an associated lifestyle that I uphold…"
"I am an Orthodox Sephardic Jew. I believe fully in the written and oral Torah of Moshe and of Y'shua, hence the term, the "Mesorah of Y'shua HaMashiach." Furthermore, I am not connected to the Messianic movement which generally (and I say GENERALLY) only accepts the written Torah and usually rejects the oral Torah and then makes the written Torah optional equipment for the faith which is fully counter to Y'shua's and Sha'ul's teachings."
" Nor am I connected to the Christian church which outright rejects both the written and oral Torot as being replaced with new Mesorah (traditions) that also violate the very heart of Y'shua HaMashiach's teachings. Rather, I am connected to the B'ne Torah movement which is a fast-growing sect of Judaism that happens to believe that Y'shua is HaMashiach, Ben Elohim and our Mesorah perfectly lines up with Moshe, Y'shua, and Sha'ul in their teachings of the Torot, oral and written."
For More on Avi ben Mordechai see: Avi
ben Mordechai & Millennium 7000
In promoting their cause, Hebrew Roots leaders give us many reasons why we must or should become involved. For example, Larry Rowland of Messengers of Truth believes that the Bible is a book about the Jewish people, and should be studied as such:
"…In order to correctly understand the Newer Testament, it is beneficial to have a working knowledge of the world from which it was birthed. Most of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation was written by Jews, for Jews, about Jews, or with Jews in mind. Even the Gospel of Luke and part of the Book of Acts, while probably written by Gentiles, nonetheless addressed Jewish issues and concerns on behalf of an early Jewish Church."
" Today, a travesty is occurring within the body of Christian believers. The Church, as well as Christians themselves, have a lack of knowledge concerning their Jewish heritage. Without that knowledge, Christians are burning their bridges at an alarming rate. They have forgotten the foundation on which their faith was originally founded."
"Only the knowledge of our Hebraic Roots, will allow us, as Christians, to span the bridge of time linking yesterday to today; allowing us to understand the full richness of Scripture. Remember, what you miss, don't see or comprehend in Scripture you can't have and Yeshua's desire was that we, as believers in Him . . . have it all!"1.
We have always understood that the Bible was a revelation of God himself. It encompasses His unending love, mercy, justice, patience and most of all, His plan for humanity and our salvation through Jesus Christ.
An organization in Colorado Springs for the propagation of a new kind of church is The Open Church Ministries. It promotes a
"prophecy" written by Dean Cozzens
regarding the Hebrew Roots movement. This "prophecy" discloses that the Hebrew Roots movement as the last of a series of movements designed to change the direction of the church, the previous movements being the Pentecostal, Charismatic and Word of Faith. Part of this prophecy declares this:
"… The critical turn in thinking [which Christians must make]
is a shift away from the Greek corruptions of the past and back toward the center line God-ordained Hebrew runway, down which Jesus Himself came and landed perfectly. Jesus Himself was the airship, and the terminal where He had been loading since His first coming has been the world into which He has come. . . The runway then is all the Old Testament, i.e. all of the Old Testament Hebrew truth and revelation, and much of the Hebrew culture and custom that came with it…"
"We'll leave on the same runway Jesus landed on-Old Testament Hebrew revelations and prophecies, and Hebrew ways of thinking and living. That's who God revealed Himself to be, and Who Jesus also showed Himself to be when He lived here on this planet in the flesh."
"Many errors were incorporated into the early church in order to please and accommodate the Greek culture, and to escape anti-Hebrew persecutions from the
Romans. These early corruptions are what we mean by the Hebrew-to-Greek shift. The correction of this past mistake is the turning of that great airliner in what is called the Greek-to-Hebrew shift, or the Hebrew Movement. It is what God now expects from us before He more fully empowers us, and thrusts us into His glory. It's what we need to do to make Him more comfortable about openly identifying Himself with us in His full approval of glory and power…"
Do we indeed have to become Jewish in thought and custom in order to fully understand the Word of God and be pleasing before Him? Are we to accept that we have been lacking and even deliberately misled as some will say, by the New Testament and many orthodox teachings? The implications could indeed be overwhelming if this were a possibility. What of the needed reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles they say will take place if we embrace our Hebrew Roots? Is there any truth to the charges of anti-Semitism towards Jews on the part of Christians in general, and from the New Testament?
Does this teaching of Jew and Gentile reconciliation change the meaning of the Scripture found in:
Galatians 3:26-29 ?
- "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. "
What of the divine inspiration of the Bible? Is Scripture sufficient in itself and considered the inerrant Word of God? Are Peter Michas and others correct when they state that we must go back to the Hebrew or Aramaic writings and look to the Oral traditions for the interpretation of Scripture?
Another issue Hebrew Roots teachers bring forward is the need to rewrite the English versions of the Word of God with Jewish names as done in the book,
"Holy to Yahveh,"
- "…. which is bringing revelation, illuminating the importance of the Hebrew name of the Father and the Son; magnification of the holy Hebrew roots of Scripture and Christianity; scriptural truths that reveal many faulty religious doctrines and traditions;
Anti-semitism exposed and shattered; and "the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles to a holy God and one another…"
"Holy to Yahveh" author, Terrye Goldblum Seedman and her husband, desire all to be
"searching into the Scriptural pure holy Hebrew roots of Christianity".
Their brochure: "Messianic Revelation, Spiritual Revival" further states:
- "The Mighty One, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is wooing a remnant, both Jews and Gentiles, to be reconciled to Him and one another."
Jacob Prasch maintains that we need the knowledge of the Midrash, the rabbinical commentary on scripture, to rightly understand the Bible. Many advocates of the Hebrew Roots doctrine would have us believe that the Talmud, a compendium of oral traditions, is divinely inspired and of benefit to those involved in Judaism, the Hebrew Roots movement and Christianity.
What evidence is there of the alleged connections between the Talmud, the Kabbalah [Jewish mysticism] and Freemasonry? While many deny any connections and state that the Kabbalah is not used, connected nor promoted, there are facts which indicate otherwise.
Many Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name advocates are decrying that the name, 'Jesus Christ', is invalid, mistranslated or unacceptable for whatever reason. One has to ask which Name do these people wish us to use if not the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Which of the numerous "only Sacred Name," are we to use?
We must also ask, what is the acceptable Name of the Father? Many of the groups are promoting the changing or rejecting of the English translation of Jehovah and even Lord, stating that His name is also translated inaccurately. Is their translation
the Name which Theosophists and Kabbalists call the Ineffable Name or Tetragrammaton and should we embrace it?
Would changing the name of our Savior and embracing another name become the rejection of Jesus Christ and His salvation?
It is imperative that we understand the significance of the Sacred Name issue, for
Scripture tells us in John 14:6,
- "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
- "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Also promoted is the occult symbol, the Star of David, which we must consider as part of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Besides removing or changing the Name of Jesus Christ, many would eliminate the term
Christianity. Uri Marcus, of Nehemiah Trustees Covenant Fund, in an email regarding "A Vote For "Jesus"?,
insists that converted Jews must retain their Jewish identity and refuse the Christian name so as not to offend their fellow Jews:
" ...a Jew cannot reasonably hope to identify with this metamorphasized name and expect that other Jews are going to want to run in and find out how they too can believe. Our only hope is re-establish our Jewish Identity in light of our Beliefs in the Jewish Messiah. In other words, we must restore the Jewishness to the Gospel…"
" I did not say that I would not want to be considered "Christian" amongst others in the Body of Messiah. I only said that with regard to our own people, the Jews, we cannot afford this association…"4.
Do other Jewish people view Christianity in the same manner? If we embrace the Hebrew roots and traditions, will the Jewish people, people who do not accept Jesus Christ or the New Testament, then accept us?
Will reconciliation take place between Jews and Christians, and is this objective of the Hebrew Roots movement desirable? Do the various Jewish groups view the Messianic or Hebrew Roots movement in a favorable way? If we embrace all the rituals, ceremonies, feasts and beliefs, do we fall under the Law, or become proselytes of Judaism? Where do the Noahide laws fit into the Hebrew Roots doctrine? These laws, which are acceptable to Jews and Muslims alike, are intended to govern those who are not born "into the faith".
We must ask, are these Messianic and Jewish leaders able to now provide, Truth, which has been hidden, from Gentiles and Christians all this time? Do they hold the knowledge that the rest of us lack, as suggested by so many?
Is it possible, as Peter Michas has stated, that even the conception and birth of Christ are different than what we have been taught?
Is Jesus' length of ministry on earth recorded incorrectly in the New Testament? Or is this part of the Antichrist's plan to changing times and dates that we understand as truth?
Have these spiritual leaders been given unique and new insight that they alone are able to dispense, to those who embrace the "Hebrew Roots of Christianity"? Is this movement of God, or does it come from something else?
These, then, are some of the questions that need to be addressed. The next articles will reveal many answers, which will lead to an understanding of the nature of the Hebrew Roots movement. My conclusions about this movement are based on my belief in the inerrancy of the Word of God alone, and that there is salvation in only One Name--the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:18:
- "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."
As we evaluate the teachings of the Hebrew Roots or messianic movements, we must understand these teachings in their historical context.
Clearly there are many people who love the Lord Jesus Christ, whose hearts' desire is to follow Him, serve Him, and share Him. However, we would be naïve to think that all who say they belong to Him, are true believers. Seeking the truth about the "Hebrew Roots of Christianity" means carefully weighing all pertinent information according to the Word of God.
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
Prophecies of Rick Joyner & Rabbi Cohen at Messiah'99
Stephen Strang at Messiah'99
To Embrace Hebrew Roots:
II -- The Bible & The Talmud
All Scripture Quotes from The Authorized King James Bible
- Larry Rowland, Messengers of Truth:
- Dean Cozzens, Dec.3,1997; Open Church web site;
- Terrye Goldblum Seedman, Holy to Yahveh Brochure: Messianic Revelation, Spiritual Revival; Goldblum. Seedman Corp.1998;
- Uri Marcus, Re: A Vote For "Jesus"?, Oct.23, 1997, Nehemiah Trustees Covenant Fund;
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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