Hebraic Roots Movement - Part I
There have been many streams of error that have flowed into the church over the last several decades: the Word of Faith movement, the Shepherding movement, the Purpose Driven Life movement, and the G12 movement, just to name a few. Alongside and in relation to these movements comes one that has subtly gained influence recently: the Hebraic Roots Movement (HRM).
Similar to the other movements, the HRM goes beyond the revealed Word of God by claiming, “the Scripture alone cannot show the meaning within.” Herein we find the first error of this and all false teaching. It always breeds doubt by claiming that its adherents need more than God’s Word to understand Him. Satan used this lie with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and he still uses this same fallacious tactic today on mankind. Genesis 3:5 says, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
The sources of revelation and wisdom in the HRM come from the Talmud, Midrash, Halakhah, and Haggadah. It’s interesting to note that students of Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism—require an understanding of these resources prior to comprehending the deeper esoteric secret meanings of the universe and God, they claim.
What’s the danger with teaching Christians their foundation of faith is in their Hebraic roots? Actually, that is a false question. Before the law was given to Israel and His children, God gave a promise to a Gentile man, Abraham. Abraham was justified by faith and the seed of Abraham are they which exercise like faith. Galatians 3:7 says, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”
The sacrificial system was ordained by God before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:20), and was shown to Adam and Eve and then given to Abraham and then onto Isaac and Jacob. Israel was to honor the sacrifices because they represented the coming “one” sacrifice that God would accept. The law could not be fulfilled by man’s works and was never intended to be. It was always by faith that God was to be apprehended with the sacrifice being the means that man could have fellowship with God. The penalty of the law required the sacrifice of a perfect offering. Only Jesus Christ qualified to pay the debt and become the sacrifice acceptable to God on man’s behalf. When Christ died on the cross, He satisfied the righteous demands of the law. Romans 10:4 says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Paul would share with us the remembrance of Israel of old as they “drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).
No instruction was given by Paul or any of the other New Testament writers to follow Jewish customs or traditions. The admonition to us in the next verses should make it clear how we are to view Israel with regard to our sanctification and unwillingness to follow God’s prescribed order and way:
“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition …” (I Cor. 10:5-12).
Our Lord Himself made it clear that during the time of His visitation that the spiritual leadership of Israel was not following the law of God but after their own traditions:
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men … Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7-9).
The Mishnah and Talmud are not biblical or Scriptural! Much of the Midrashic teaching changed the object of Israel’s faith right before the time of Jesus Christ. The leadership was broken into different sects. The Pharisees and Sadducees and their interpretation of the law functioned like the differences of today’s modern political parties.
The Mishnah precedes the Talmud and was and is considered to be comprised of oral tradition passed down throughout history since the time Moses received the law from God. According to tradition, Moses gave to Israel the written law from God but used the oral law to apply the written law upon Israel. This unwritten oral tradition was said to have been passed down throughout Israel’s history. After the death of Jesus Christ, rabbinical commentaries called the Gemara were added to the Mishnah and together they later became the Talmud.
Modern Teachers So-Called
Today’s modern HRM teachers mostly refer to Talmudic teaching to explain the deeper truths of the Bible. Hogwash! The Midrash and Midrashic interpretation tend to devalue and pervert the literal, historical interpretation of Bible Scripture and replace it with private, hidden, and even mystical interpretations.
We must also recognize Judaism today has been altered and weakened by their so-called sages, rabbis, and ravs who mixed oral traditional thought, the Pentateuch, and Greek philosophy together. What’s really behind the HRM are occult principles and themes. New Age concepts are found throughout the HRM teachings. They’re also found in the Word of Faith, Purpose Driven Life, and G12 movements, which have desensitized the church, making them palatable for HRM teachers to gain success.
In the meantime, I want to point out that teaching and explaining the Old Testament with all of its wonderful types and shadows does not indicate a preacher has embraced the HRM agenda. However, if your church begins to see your pastor wearing prayer shawls and yarmulkes, that may be a sign that he or she may be going in the HRM direction. If the Jewish calendar holidays and the Sabbaths are all of a sudden being followed and prescribed upon everyone, then it’s time to leave your church.
In future articles, I will explain the other dangers of the HRM and how they are harming the church. If it’s not Jesus Christ and Him crucified, it’s not the gospel.