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The Hebraic Hook

Many people have asked me how I got interested in, and then intertwined with Messianic Judaism [MJ], or as it’s more recognizably known – Hebrew Roots [HR]. Because of the constant promotion of a Jewish perspective, also known as a Hebraic mind set, I wanted to clarify from a very personal perspective of how traveling on that particular road of thought landed me into HR.

For those of you not familiar with Hebrew Roots – it’s a movement that promotes going back to keeping the Law of Moses in varying degrees dependent on the group one is affiliated with or by personal beliefs. Most of the movement’s doctrines progress away from “normative” Christianity by choice, convinced that Christianity is the paganism that is warned of in the NT. HR is centered around the departure of anything “Greek” minded and incorporating as much Jewishness as possible into their lifestyle and religious practice.

Disclaimer: My comments are based on what one finds generally in HR and what I experienced. Adherents are found in differing extremes and others are in the middle somewhere. HR is a very diverse movement.

The first barb of the “Hebraic hook” came before I got involved into HR. I had been made aware that the NT was written primarily in Hebrew. That really intrigued me, because I had spent considerable time in the OT compared to the NT and it seemed quite plausible to me. I was informed that if the disciples were Jewish, then the Gospels and letters would be penned in Hebrew or Aramaic, not Greek. It made a lot of sense to me then, as it does to many in HR, for I hear this argument often and continuously. Historical facts prove that this is just not so [please see my article: https://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/holy-hebrew/ ]. But when a great bulk of Messianic leaders push this concept and some produce their own versions based on erroneous information, it’s pretty hard to dismiss when you want Hebraic primacy so badly. It is a critical foundation for belief in going back to Torah [Mosaic Law] because if one can prove that the Greek is in error, then there is nothing to keep one from the “real” truth or the Hebraic mind set [the Greek NT is said to be mistranslated on purpose by the “church” to prevent people from knowing the “truth” about keeping “all” the commandments of God].

The need to find a Hebrew NT drove me for years. It was impossible back then to find any real information. I was not aware of the internet until I was firmly ensconced in HR, but when I did discover it – it sped me light years ahead in falling head over heels for everything Hebraic I could get my hands on.

Enter barb two …. I found the Complete Jewish Bible about three years before I knew of Messianic Judaism. That became truth for me. I loved what I thought were Hebrew words [actually a mixture of Hebrew, Yiddish, and incorrectly applied Hebrew words]. The glossary was like a treasure chest to my ignorant eyes. Having that Bible, because it was JEWISH, pushed me constantly to find out what the Bible “really” had to say about Jesus and about everything written in the Bible. I was convinced that until I found someone who could help me see things from a Jewish perspective, I would not fully understand the Bible, both OT and NT. The CJB fueled my motivation to seek all things Jewish. It was a rush back then.

Around the same time that I found my CJB, I also discovered a couple of books on the Bible Codes which truly “enhanced” my Hebraic experience. This little barb was particularly “captivating” — I was geeked for real. How cool that the OT had hidden words in the “original” Hebrew!!! It’s one of the more embarrassing moments of my whole journey into HR. The simplest way to respond to this error is to show that before 900BCE, Hebrew was not a language. Hebrew evolved from proto-type Canaanite/Addadian, so until after the time of David, the Bible was not written in true Hebrew. We do not have any of the “original” OT. What we have today are copies of copies. This is not to say that we do not have God’s inspired Word, only that we do not have the “original”. There is also a lot of resources on the net which show other reasons why the Bible Codes are a farce and based in kabbalah’s gematria.

A couple of interesting expose`s on the Bible Codes:

http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~jtigay/codetext.html

A running list of math professors to object to the validity of the Bible Codes:

http://math.caltech.edu/code/petition.html

Information on the history of the Hebrew language:

http://evomech7.blogspot.com/2007/01/earliest-semitic-text-revealed-in.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091035.htm

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Middle_Bronze_Age_alphabets

http://www.bibleorigins.net/HebrewDatesPentateuch.html

My all out desire to find the true Jewish perspective led me to a church that was teaching some Jewish concepts. So I settled in there one Sunday excited that I might learn something relevant. Sitting next to me was a woman who noticed my CJB and commented that she also had one. Then she asked me a question that forever changed my life. Did I know that there was a Messianic congregation in my town? I was floored. It never occurred to me to even look for one! “Messianic” meant nothing to me. But when she hooked it up with Jewish believers, I was one thrilled and ecstatic accident waiting to happen. I could hardly wait until the following “Shabbat” [7th day Sabbath].

It was there that I got my first taste of Jewishness and I loved it. There was not only the opportunity to speak with real Jewish converts about the Bible, but fellowship with those who had a Jewish perspective on Jesus and the first century – this was a very tenacious barb. Of course I found out as time went by that no one there was really Jewish. They just wanted it so bad that they dressed the part. Lots of star of David jewelry, full length beards, prayer shawls, skull caps, Hebrew words interspersed in their conversations, Hebrew names for God and Jesus, Hebrew music, etc. They were all wanna be gentile Christians like myself searching for the impossible dream. At the time I could not admit that, I was too swept up into the Hebraic hook – so many barbs, so little time ……..

I bought into the trappings whole heartedly. It was obvious that if I truly wanted to be like Jesus, then I had to live that way too [huge barb on that Hebraic hook!]. If He was Jewish, that meant my “Greek” view was skewed. Whatever the Jews did today, was simply an extension of first century. After all, they were God’s chosen people and God had given them their Jewishness. He does not change, therefore; if He instilled that culture in the Jewish people, then as followers of Christ, we must also find our home within that culture as well. The course of action was to locate what was Jewish and incorporate it into one’s life, worship, and adopt it as one’s true culture. There was no lack of resources. The congregation that I attended had a full library and courses to help implement a lifestyle that was “truly of God”. How sad, I was encouraged to believe that the church had been misled and was in grave error in regard to her “true origins”. I believed what was said about the lies of Christianity and it broke my heart.

A particularly effective Hebraic “barb” zeros in on some of the things that Jesus said that we could not possibly understand with our “westernized Greek pagan mind set”, because they are “Jewish idioms”. For instance, the example of “an evil eye” is used to promote Hebrew primacy of the NT. This is pointed out as a Hebrew idiom not translated correctly into Greek which means “stingy”. Something that Christians totally “miss”. Excuse me while I chuckle 🙂 – read on and you’ll see why.

Here is the context – from Matthew:

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Ok, here is the huge DUH that is supposedly “missed in the Greek” > Jesus was quoting Proverbs. Ouch!

Proverbs 28:22 He that hastens to be rich has an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come on him.

Wow! – that was pretty tough for this old western Greek pagan mind 🙂

There is also plenty of support to clarify throughout the NT like the “love of money is the root of all evil” [1 Tim 6:10] or “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes” [1 John 2:16]. So what was that about a “Jewish perspective”? (smile)

As a brief side note – the term “stingy” for “evil eye” comes from the Talmud:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0006_0_06167.html

In another post I detail out what the Talmud is comprised of and why it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, other than to denigrate Him:

https://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/a-jewish-perspective/

Going back to the ideas that held the superiority of a Hebraic mind set, a biggie barb is that we are grafted into Israel – which is the olive tree spoken of in Romans 11. I bought that one too. It seems that my discerner was way off (smile). This is a huge teaching in HR, which again would keep people into Torah observance. If one is really Jewish when they become a believer, then one will consider Law keeping as a prerequisite.

I was pretty geeked at this whole deal. It meant that although I was a gentile, I could claim preferential treatment by God because He really viewed me as a Jew. Amazing! Of course it’s pretty obvious that my Biblical knowledge was way off kilter. The Romans reference says that the root is Holy. Now we know from reading the OT that Israel was anything but holy. It’s like a real “duh” moment 🙂 So how can we be grafted into Israel? If we partake of the root and the fatness of the olive tree – it’s not Jewishness, it is the righteousness found in the faith that Abraham had for the promise of God > his seed aka Jesus Christ. For unbelief, the branches were broken off. This concept is explained in more depth in Hebrews 4.

Romans 11:16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18 Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.

19 You will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high minded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

There is a lot more to the Hebraic hook, as it is pretty pervasive within the HR movement. Please read my testimony which goes into a lot more detail: “My Journey on the Ancient Paths: https://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/ancient-paths/

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Guest article – posted with permission from author.

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Holy Hebrew!


Is Hebrew a special Holy language (leshon ha Kodesh) that is special and different than all of the other languages? Some Hebrew roots teachers have stated that Hebrew is a language so Holy, that it is impossible to even curse in it. Some have also stated that because of its Holiness, it was the language used to create the world, and most assuredly will be the language of Heaven.

Here is one of the Hebrew roots teachers, who state that Hebrew was the language of creation.

Quote:

Hebrew: Restoring the Pure Language

Brad takes a fascinating journey into the history of Hebrew, the pure language of Adonai (Tz’fanyah 3:9), the language that created all things. Brad proves through the dynamics of the Hebrew language that this heavenly tongue is the Mother Tongue and is being restored in these last days. This series covers the use of gematria, equidistant letter sequencing, and many other fascinating aspects of Hebrew to show that this language is revived today to be the foundation of bringing Adonai’s people back together to serve Him in one consent. Through the restoration of Hebrew, many long-held, erroneous, religious doctrines are being exposed. The true followers of Y’shua are being revealed and unity is being re-established in the latter days. Brad concludes this series with a lesson on how to research and discover the wonderful truths of Adonai contained in the Hebrew text.


http://www.wildbranch.org/Marketplace/index.htm

Let’s first take a look at where all the languages originated from, so that we can better understand the origins of the Hebrew language:

Genesis 11
6 And The LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip one to all of them, and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.
7 Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they cannot understand one another’s speech.
8 And the LORD scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.
9 On account of this its name is called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of all the earth there. And the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth.

Hebrew is a language that evolved historically from proto Canaanite/ancient Hebrew, into paleo, middle, and late Hebrew, which finally ended up becoming the Biblical Hebrew (with vowels) that we have today in the Masoretic text. From there modern words were added, which again evolved into the modern Hebrew that is spoken in Israel today.

Because of the history of Hebrew, clearly the Original Ten Declarations were not written in what we consider Hebrew, because of the time frame that they were written. The Ten Declarations were written before the Torah, which is dated approximately 1500-1400 bce. The language of that time was proto Canaanite which has been established through archaeological finds. Proto Canaanite did evolve into what we know as Hebrew, but other languages also evolved from it as well. If the Ten Declarations had been written in Hebrew as we know it, Moses and the children of Israel would have not been able to understand what they said as it is a different alefbet, because Hebrew script, which is a derivative of Proto Canaanite, has been only used since the 9th century bce. It should be noted that proto Canaanite was used by idol worshipping pagan cultures.

Here is how it developed over time:

Phonecian:

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phoenician.htm

Proto Hebrew/Aramaic:

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/aramaic.htm

Hebrew:

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hebrew.htm


A recent archaeological find in King David’s time:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091035.htm

If you take a look at Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew, it looks different than today’s Masoretic text (1000 years difference). Hebrew didn’t really develop until 900 BCE. The Torah was written in 1500-1400 BCE (2400 years difference. Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh, and also spoke Akkadian. Moses could read and write proto Canaanite as well, so I am sure he knew what the tablets said.

Also, the difference in writing style and refinement between the oldest Masoretic text known as the Aleppo codex, and the DSS style:

http://tmcdaniel.palmerseminary.edu/aleppo-isa9.gif

And the Dead Sea Scrolls:

http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/cave/1QPHAB6.GIF

and the Leningrad codex:

http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/edu…Codex2_e.shtml

Those changes occurred in only 1000 years after Hebrew was established. What

Let’s take a quick look at Biblical Hebrew so that we can examine the “Holy” status of it during Biblical times:

Isaiah 6 (written approx700 bce)
5 Then I said, Woe is me! For I am cut off; for I am a man of unclean lips (H8193), and I live amongst a people of unclean lips (H8193); for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, snatched with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched it on my mouth, and said, See, this has touched your lips;
and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is covered.

H8193
שׂפת / שׂפה
śa
̂phâh / śepheth
BDB Definition:
1) lip, language, speech, shore, bank, brink, brim, side, edge, border, binding
1a) lip (as body part)
1b) language
1c) edge, shore, bank (of cup, sea, river, etc)
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from H5595 or H8192 through the idea of termination (compare H5490)
Same Word by TWOT Number: 2278a

Here is another example of how the same word lip or language is used:

Zephaniah 3 (approx 620 bce)
9 For then will
I restore to the people a pure (H1305) language (H8193), that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord.

H1305
בּרר
ba
̂rar
BDB Definition:
1) to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, cleanse or make bright, test or prove
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to purge, purge out, purify
1a2) to choose, select
1a3) to cleanse, make shining, polish
1a4) to test, prove
1b) (Niphal) to purify oneself
1c) (Piel) to purify
1d) (Hiphil)
1d1) to purify
1d2) to polish arrows
1e) (Hithpael)
1e1) to purify oneself
1e2) to show oneself pure, just, kind
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 288

Since we know that Isaiah spoke and wrote in Hebrew, and he himself said that he is a man of unclean lips (speech), and since God stated in Zephaniah, which is a book that was written after Isaiah that he will restore a pure language, then it is obvious by the text that Biblical Hebrew is not a pure language currently, nor was it at the time of Isaiah.

Secondly, we need to examine the fact that there are parts of various books in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that are written partially in Aramaic (Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, Genesis). Aramaic is a language that came out of Canaan, where the people worshipped idols, and was also spoken in pagan Babylon during the captivity. If Hebrew is a Holy language, then why would God mix the language used by a pagan cultures with Hebrew in the Scriptures? In the book of Daniel, in the portion where the Aramaic begins, it opens like this:

Daniel 2
4 And the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the meaning.

In the passages directly following the opening, we find Aramaic words such as Melecha (H4430), Shamaya (H8065), Elahh (H426), and others throughout the text. The Aramaic continues until to the end of chapter seven, spanning almost five chapters. It should be noted that Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees, and then in obedience he left his pagan culture, and crossed over into the land that God had promised him which became Israel.

Nehemiah 9
7 You are the LORD the God who chose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and appointed his name, Abraham.

Many Hebrew roots teachers have stated that the only way one can really effectively understand the Old Testament Scriptures, is by learning to read and understand them in the Hebrew language. Currently, English is spoken (sometimes as a second language) by a much larger percentage of the six billion people in the world today, than the five million people world wide who currently speak Hebrew. This works out statistically to be a negligable percentage of the worlds population that speaks and understands Hebrew. Would God have been so short sighted as to write His word into Hebrew, which for the most part was a dead language until resurrected in the last half of the nineteenth century as modern Hebrew, if it could not be accurately translated and comprehended in other languages such as English? This should be something for us all to consider seriously.

Going forward into the NT, it should be noted that Jesus spoke Aramaic on the cross, and in some other passages found in the New Testament. He most likely conversed in Greek or even possibly Latin with Pilate at His

trial. Jesus also spoke in a Hebraic language (some scholars say Aramaic) to Paul on the road to Damascus in the book of Acts. Paul, who wrote thirteen or fourteen books of the New Testament spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin (Roman citizen), and because he lived in Tarsus at an early age, he possibly would have spoken a local dialect which would probably be related to modern Turkish, and possibly even a few more dialects of other languages that he learned in his travels.

Next, we should examine the use of languages in first century Judea. Listed below (parenthesis) are a few of the possible languages spoken in those regions at that time. Please keep in mind that the list is by no means comprehensive:

Acts 2 (written approx 63 ce)
1 And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one mind in the same place.
2 And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven, as being borne along by a violent wind! And it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed, and it sat on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave ability to them to speak.
5 And Jews were living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation of those under the heaven.
6 But this sound occurring, the multitude came together and were confounded, because they each heard them speaking in his own dialect.
7 And all were amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Behold, are not all these, those speaking, Galileans?
8 And how do we hear each in our own dialect in which we were born,
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites (Persian), and those living in Mesopotamia (Turkish dialect, Syrian, Persian, Akkadian), both Judea (Hebrew,Aramaic,Greek) and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia (Turkish dialect, Greek)
10 both Phrygia and Pamphylia (Turkish dialect,Greek), Egypt (Arabic dialect, Greek), and the regions of Libya over against Cyrene (Latin,Greek,Aramaic), and the temporarily residing Romans (Latin,Greek), both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans (Greek, Aramaic) and Arabians (Arabic dialect, Greek); in our own languages we hear them speaking the great deeds of God?

Would God through His Holy Spirit allow the apostles to speak, in what some Hebrew roots teachers have claimed to be pagan languages, if they truly were according to Gods standards? If this was the case, wouldn’t it have been easier for the apostles to speak only in Hebrew, and then for God to miraculously have all of the different people who spoke the many other languages, be able to understand what the apostles said in the “Holy language” of Hebrew? Instead the apostles spoke, and praised God in what some have taught are unclean pagan languages that they claim no self respecting Jew would ever speak.

Some Hebrew roots teachers have circulated the “myth” that the Jews of that day believed it was better to eat swine flesh, than to speak Greek. I guess the apostles never got the memo on that, nor did the Holy Spirit, or maybe there was a shortage of swine flesh at that time, because as they were being led by the Holy Spirit, they spoke Greek as one of the many languages. This is detailed in the passage recorded in Acts. Keeping in mind, that since Greek was established as the common language, and the language of trade since the rule of Alexander almost four centuries before the time of Christ in 332 BCE, that many others throughout the Roman empire also spoke and understood Greek as well.

Various Hebrew roots teachers have emphatically stated that the New Testament was definitely written in Hebrew or Aramaic, because no self respecting Jew would have written it in Greek. How does that stand up in light of what we have reviewed thus far? Also how could this statement have any validity, seeing as how the first five books of the Hebrew OT was translated into Greek two centuries before Christ by Jewish scribes?

In conclusion, it would appear that those striving to keep Hebrew as the pure, Holy Heavenly language that true followers of the Messiah need to read and speak, need to re-examine their teachings. The Hebrew posturing that is being touted as “truth” falls completely short of historical documentation and factual evidence. One more Hebrew Roots “myth” ………. busted (smile)

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