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This is part of a testimony of someone who came out of the Hebrew Roots Movement, written as an apology and explanation to a friend that she had convinced should become part of HRM. Posted with permission.

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I left the BL congregation a couple of months before I moved to the west coast, and I never really looked back.  I had a member call me, and when he found out I was moving, I never heard from any of them again.  The last few times I attended, I had a heaviness I could not explain.  I was crying a lot at home, I was burdened, and I felt confused.  I felt something in my soul urging me to not go back.  Why?  I felt my relationship with Christ was becoming diluted; replaced by the Torah…the SHADOW of what He came to do.  It’s far more profound than that, though.  Do I think Believers should know and understand the Feasts?  Yes.  Should we understand Torah and know its purpose?  Absolutely.  But the doctrine that “We are Israel,” and other ideas are false.

There is such a sense of pride and arrogance with the Hebrew Roots Movement, and in a way, it’s essentially culture idolatry and Torah worship.  It took me a while to be content that I’m a Gentile, to not let that make me feel “less spiritual,” or like a “regular old Christian like the rest of ‘em.”  I went to BL because I was in pain from my Mom’s death and wanted answers.  They told me she was not in Heaven, and would not be until Christ’s Second Coming.  Heresy.  Before, I’d been dissatisfied at my former church. I was jumping from one disappointing  congregation to another.  I think we all do it, as we wrestle with getting to know the Lord, to shut out doubts we have about the world.  But something I noticed at BL after being there a while, is that they twist scripture to their own benefit, to keep this movement going.  That elated feeling I had when I first attended had waned, because I began to see through so many things.  I was given sarcastic, snappy answers sometimes, because the “rabbi” clearly couldn’t explain how the Gospels, the TRUTH in Christ, refuted what he was saying.

I know that there are some doctrinal problems there, but after much praying, seeking, studying, I’ve realized this is universal with Hebrew Roots and their Systematic Theology.  If I ask you anything, it is to forgive me for influencing you in any way.  I have felt bad for quite a while about this, and when you told me your family is divided, I just wanted to get you all on a conference call and apologize.  And I know even recently I’ve said some things that can be construed as in support of it.  Mainly out of confusion and just feeling uneasy about all of it.  My prayer is for forgiveness and that you don’t think of me as double-minded or two-faced.  What the Lord had shown me is the New Covenant is one of grace.  No, it doesn’t mean “do as you wish,” it means as a saved Believer, you’re going to WANT to obey the Lord… Gentiles were not given the Mosaic Law.  (I can see the folks at BL shouting “blasphemy.”)  We know what’s right and wrong, but FAITH and LOVE is what dominates…two things I struggle with and why I floundered into HRM.

BL thrives on pulling people in who are already saved, giving them the idea that Christ is not enough and they must be an “exclusive club that knows things from a Hebraic mindset that ‘the church’ doesn’t.”  The Lord clearly says he hates secrets.  Why would we witness to those already redeemed by HIS blood?  Why would we focus on His race, a covenant not made with the Gentiles, why try (and fail) to learn a difficult, ancient language, when he came for “all nations, tribes and tongues?”  Don’t get me wrong, Hebrew is beautiful and the Lord’s chosen language for the Jewish people.  But He created us Gentiles as an entirely different culture for a reason.

One night, I printed out the laws of the Torah.  My mouth dropped.  There is no way one can be “Torah observant” without (just a few I’ll list here)… stoning an unruly child, stoning adulterers…stoning  those who’ve had sex before marriage, not leaving your dwelling on the Sabbath, etc.  Even driving or studying on the Sabbath is considered “work,” so that’s one that I was breaking, trying to “keep” it.  The Torah was given exclusively to the nation of Israel – the biological Jews – and even THEY couldn’t keep the Law – and some of course were absolutely fanatical about it.  And because of that…we have the whole purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection.  This is one simple truth, the whole POINT of salvation, and I overlooked it, because I felt something was missing from Christianity.  What was missing was MY faith problem and MY poor relationship with Christ because of my own problems.  The way I’d been let down by people and the church had nothing to do with my relationship with the Father through his Son.

That’s another point.  I noticed we at BL went straight to the Father.  They disregarded that Christ said no one can come to the Father except by Him.  Christ was mentioned here and there, sort of like salt and pepper on the “meat,” which was the Torah… (And…do know how long it took for me to be able to call Him “Jesus” without feeling I was calling on the name of a pagan god?)  Again, that was more brainwashing.  I was weak and fell prey to lies.

I realized when the itinerary for the home Shabbat service followed that of BL, I became concerned.  The worship services of the HRM are based on rabbinical tradition, the Talmud and Kabbalah.  All I can say is…Judaism is definitely not Christianity, and when one tries to incorporate a little of one into the other, a bit of what each means is lost.  And that’s more confusion.  I don’t want my relationship with Christ fade even more because of that, especially with the tough times I’m going through right now.  I do want to add that I sat down over a few weeks and read the Gospels, then I read Galatians, more than once.  There’s no way one can reconcile being Torah observant with what Paul writes, without twisting scripture and coming up with a far-out, exaggerated translation.  And believe me, when I asked the rabbi at BL questions about why Galations refutes everything about the Sabbath and keeping Torah, he had the strangest explanations that were so convoluted it was ridiculous.  And sadly, I became suspicious of anything Paul wrote and still have difficulty with things because of the intense influence that I encountered at BL.  They want to be Christians, but Jewish… “just in case.”  And that is a theme that resonates throughout all of the Hebrew Roots Movement and Torah Observance.

Looking back, I see that they are planting a destructive seed that takes the focus off of Christ, and puts it on Laws that were not even given to us, but those who were set-apart to bring Christ’s birth and death to fulfillment.  The key is the focus which IS NOT on the strength, the power, or the salvation which is CHRIST, as it should be.  The Gospels, of course, focusing on the person of Christ, and the rest of the New Testament focusing on our purpose in Him.  I think the Lord can use the HRM for his Glory, like he used the Jews’ short-sightedness to His Glory.  I believe I was allowed to get involved to show me how we all want some type of “exclusivity,” a sort of “us” vs. “them.”  But the Gospel is inclusive, not an exclusive club.  And even though I know the home services don’t operate like that, the foundation is the worship style at BL, and that’s the agenda.

We now have the freedom to choose to celebrate the feasts, to choose to adhere to the dietary laws, but we are not obligated, because of the sacrifice Christ made.  Before going to BL, I never let the Gospels and what Paul said sink in.  I was just restless with “church.”  But it has gotten to the point…I realized I either need to believe the Gospels, the words of my Savior and of Paul, or focus solely on the study guide/tutor (Torah) and neglect the entire purpose of Christ’s finished work.

I hope and I pray that this makes sense, and again, I ask that you forgive me for the influence I had in leading you to look into HRM.  I didn’t even know it was called that.  They were very careful at BL to not “label” anything.  But the whole idea that all things Christian are pagan…well, again I will tell you the Talmud and Kabbalah, which is where their worship styles, Bible interpretations, and doctrines come from, are more pagan than most things you’ve ever seen.  I do hope this does not in any way affect our friendship.  And yes, I was so happy to share my newfound knowledge with you back then.  That was before I was confronted with the heresies that began surfacing very quickly once I dug deeper into it.  At the end of the day, it’s all about what the Son did for us, why, and what that accomplished for the world.  And thank the Lord for that!

 

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I was watching an interesting interview on TV the other day.  The interviewer is known for their “spiritual” approach to life – but really finding “God” in all wrong places compared to a Biblical understanding.  The interviewee and interviewer were in agreement as to how “God” is found > for instance:  in the silence of the woods sitting and enjoying a grassy area, smelling the grass, and sensing in the quietness … a recognition of “God” and birth of spirituality [this birthing process is not limited to the woods, it can be any “epiphany” experience].  The interviewee stated that they had found God *in* music in that special place and equates that with their “birth” of spirituality leading them to 40 years as one of the most famous musical entities of our time.  The interviewer remarked, closing out the TV special, that God IS the music, not just IN the music.

Thus began several hours of this writer’s introspection as to why people get so caught up into the “spiritual” but totally miss the Spirit of Almighty God – due to their search for “the experience”.  I reminisced, going back to those points in my life when I had run after the elusive – believing I too had found all the answers in spiritual experiences and equating them to be about “God”.  Much like the person above who sought after the elusive experience on which their belief system was founded, I recognized the longing and the desire to be “special” even within the framework of what I believed to be Biblical, but was in reality a dense spiritual “mist” that fogged up my perception.

A friend remarked to me that these kinds of spiritual experiences and expectations were nothing more than free ice cream.  They taste good and make you feel fabulous …. a person can come up with a pretty amazing multiple-scoop cone, depending on who is offering such delights in the name of spiritual excellence.

Since the beginning of the world, people have searched for the spiritual.  Adam and Eve were tempted to be like God – satan’s first offering of his kind of “ice cream”.  The Tower of Babel comes to mind as well.  Even in that ancient time, men built a tower to reach into the Heavens to touch God > the “ultimate ice cream cone”!  It has become “faddish” to want nothing more than to “feel” God – to bring Him down to our likeness, to our standards of emotion and perceptions – as if the experience has achieved a God-like “high” and one has “arrived” on some superior spiritual level making their ice cream cone a wondrous display of the experiential to be envied and desired.

What does all this have to do with Messianic Hebrew Roots?  The ongoing “flavor of the week” is the tallit or prayer shawl [Although, to be fair – some segments of Christianity have topped the “cone” with it as well].   This “flavor” has been browsed so many times in the search engines that people pop up on this blog looking for information on it more than any other topic.  And no surprise.  Of all the concepts in HR, this one captivates a “feely touchy” mystic [read “kabbalah”] two-fold experience … to be reminded of the Mosaic Law and to enter one’s “prayer closet” > those being the two central themes of necessity to find favor with God and to be “holy”. 

In order to bind the tallit more snuggly to one’s spiritual “etherealistic” expectations, a bunch of teachings ranging from the sheet [tallit] let down in Peter’s vision; to Jesus [wearing a “talitha” 🙂 ] raising the young woman [= talitha] from the dead; to “God’s tallit” in the sky = Heavens; to the “the chupah [covered four cornered wedding arch] = a tallit”, etc.  Added to that is the wringing out from a variety of OT texts, the tallit, as “special revelation”.  All this free ice cream makes for one huge sloppy mess – almost impossible to eat, but profusely dribbling down from the chins of those who dote on these things. The bottom line is that the tallit did not exist in Biblical times.  It was added to Judaism through their Rabbinical interpretation system in the middle ages.  The word “tallit” is not even a Biblical Hebrew word > it’s Yiddish [13th century]!  The HR “teachers of greater truth” are offering free ice cream from a soggy dripping cone.

Is this different than a person who chases after an elusive “epiphany” experience believing they have “found” what they believe is “God” through some magical aura in which they “sense” the spiritual and believe it is “the real thing”?  The “thing”, the “experience” … is not God and it is not about God.  It is a feeling that equates knowledge with the four senses. Knowing God is by blind faith, not by seeing, touching/feeling, smelling or hearing something ethereally emotional and making that about God … because when the “feeling” or “thing” becomes about God, it is just plain free ice cream.  It gives a sugar rush for the moment, but it has nothing to do with the Lord God Almighty and serving Him.

 

2 Cor 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2 Cor 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

2 Co 11:12  But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

2 Co 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

2 Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

2 Co 11:15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

 

 

 

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Myth. Jesus celebrated Hanukkah not Christmas, and we should be celebrating Chanukkah instead of pagan Christmas.

A.   Hanukkah is a celebration and holiday within Judaism about the Jewish people, for practicing Jews of Judaism only. It is an offence to them for Gentiles and those outside of Judaism to participate in this holiday and we as believers in Jesus Christ are called to cause none offence.

Although it is suggested that Hanukkah be celebrated because of the universal desire of mankind for liberty, within Judaism many believe it to be a memorial about the historical and ongoing conflict of Jewish culture and faith versus non-Jewish beliefs and what many call the Gentile/Greek influences and faith.

Others articulate that the celebration of these festivals is to continue strengthening the Jewish people in all aspects of their lives. The very name of Hanukkah imparts the belief that when Jews have dedicated themselves to their faith and through the pursuit of their religious ideals, Judaism is strong. The goal then is to strengthen the Jewish religion and their people and that is what is being commemorated in celebrating Hanukkah.1

Also called Lights, The Feast of Lights, or Feast of the Maccabees, 2 the historical name for the festival was not the Feast of Lights but the Feast of Fire. 3.  Hanukkah, (also Hannukah, Chanukkah, Chanukah) which means Dedication, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after having been desecrated by Gentile forces. Based on the Maccabean revolt (discussed below), and victory over Antiochus of Syria, the subsequent cleansing and rededication of the temple, culminated in the legend of the oil burning in the temple eight days, which many believe is true.

Jewish Rabbi Daniel Kohn, in answer to the question, “Is the miracle of Chanukah made up?” stated that the whole concept of the miracle of the oil, was indeed untrue. While stating that the actual lighting of the Menorah for the dedication of the Temple was real and based on spiritual significance, the rabbinic writings in the Talmud took the shift from the Maccabeean military victory to that of a claimed miracle of the oil for the Menorah. 4

The perceived glory of the Maccabean victory became overshadowed due to all they did that caused harm to fellow Jews and their focus became viewed as dangerous and containing seditious ideas that were to be suppressed. The fear of glorifying the military success of the Maccabeans while under Roman rule, formed the basis for the idea of inventing the story of the miracle of the oil to become the focus and with it, masked the truth about the Maccabees and their shameful legacy for many years. By reinventing the stories, the rabbis kept the holiday alive with a shift in focus and thereby inserted more religious significance. 5

Celebrated anywhere from late November to late December, for many within Judaism the eight day holiday has become very much a children’s holiday, reminiscent of Christmas and (for some) instead of Christmas, celebrated with decorated and lit Hanukkah ‘bushes’. It is a time when family comes together to commemorate this holiday by lighting a candle and exchanging gifts for each of the eight days, and eating special food. Traditionally children received gifts of coins which were meant as a remembrance of the coins minted by the Maccabee state after the military victory. The receiving of gifts on each of the eight days became a later tradition, meant to parallel what is done at Christmas with Christians, although Christians that do exchange gifts normally do so only on one day. Prayers and Psalms are recited according to Talmudic and kabbalist traditions. The prayers and recitations during Hanukkah have much to do with the view of the Jews’ salvation[s], redemption and miracles via God using the Maccabees and other people/wars/events historically.

Hanukkah in the Scriptures

The Hebrew word of hanukkah or chanukkah is used in the Old Testament eight times. It means ‘dedication.’ and is found in Numbers 7:10, 11, 84, 88; 2 Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 12:27 and Psalms 30:1. The secondary language found in the Old Testament, Aramaic, uses hanukkah precisely four times, in Daniel 3:2,3 and Ezra 6:16 & 17 and spells it chanukka. Invariably, the word hanukkah refers to the dedication of the altar in front of the Tent of Meeting, the Temple built by Solomon, or the wall of Jerusalem. The two times in Daniel 3 it is not used for those purposes, but rather is found used in reference to the dedication and worship of the image of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Those that refused to worship it were to be thrown into a fire.

Daniel 3:3…. were gathered together  unto the dedication <chanukka’ (Aramaic)> of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up…”6

The one Scriptural reference to dedication in the New Testament is found in John 10:22. Many Messianics are using this passage to say that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah and therefore that means we should.

It is necessary to view the passage of John 10 as a whole first, and read the whole chapter because the verse in reference to the feast of dedication, does not in fact say that Jesus was celebrating it. It was a statement of what time of year it was.

John 10:22  And it was at  Jerusalem the feast of the dedication <egkainia>, and  it was winter.

G1456 >dedication <egkainia> 1456. ἐγκαίνια  egkainia

Thayer Definition:

1) dedication, consecration

1a) in particular the annual feast celebrated eight days beginning in the 25th of Chislev (middle of our December), instituted by Judas Maccabaeus [164 BC] in memory of the cleansing of the temple from the pollution of Antiochus Epiphanes”  7

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries > 1456…Neuter plural of a presumed compound from G1722 and G2537; innovatives, that is, (specifically) renewal (of religious services after the Antiochian interruption): – dedication.

Prior to verse 10:22, we see that the context began while Jesus was teaching in the Temple from chapter 8:

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

John 8:52-54 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. [KJV]

Jesus healed the blind man just after leaving the scene at the Temple, John 9:1, and said:

John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. 8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

John 9:14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

Joh 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. [KJV]

Summary –the Jews cast out the blind man cured by Jesus. Jesus finds him and reveals who He is and the healed man believes and worships Him.

–the Pharisees there witness this and are told they are blind

10:1-5–the sheepfold parable-the Pharisees did not understand

10:6-16–about the sheepfold, Christ the door of the sheep, Christ the good Shepherd, the hirelings, laying down His life for the sheep,

Jesus had been healing and teaching prior to healing the blind man, and the Pharisees were disputing him, some claiming He had a devil. Starting at verse 10:17, it says the following:

John 10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
19  There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20  And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
21  Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22  And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us
plainly. 25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30  I and my Father are one.
31  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33  The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. 42 And many believed on him there.
[KJV]

Many of the Jewish and Gentile people gathered in Solomon’s porch because it was winter and it was cold. Solomon’s porch bordered the outer court and was where the Gentiles congregated, because they were not allowed into the inner court with the Jews. Jews could interact with the Gentiles on the porch, which was located on the east side of the outer court of Herod’s Temple, i.e. the Second Temple. There was a sign posted at the inner court warning all non-Jews that to enter would be punishable by death. The actual quote inscribed on the sign tablet[s], read:

“No foreigner may enter within the railing and enclosure that surround the Temple. Anyone apprehended shall have himself to blame for his consequent death!” 8

Alfred Edersheim suggests in his writing, The Temple-It’s Ministry and Service in the time of Jesus Christ, written during his seven volume work from 1876-87, “…These halls or porches around the Court of the Gentiles must have been most convenient places for friendly or religious intercourse- meetings or discussions.” 9

Jesus went to where the people were and spoke the truth of who He was. He was not received by most of the Jews present, especially the Pharisees, which many Messianics claim Jesus was celebrating with. They, in fact, wanted to stone Him. There is nothing that says Jesus entered into any celebration. From what is stated in this chapter, the preceding and following chapters and verses, Jesus was there to share the things of God and who He was/is. He was about His Father’s business. And when they tried to seize Him, He left Jerusalem.

Unlike the Maccabees, whose original mission was to protect and include the Jews and their beliefs while excluding Gentiles and their beliefs, Jesus came to include all mankind who believed in Him, so they could be part of the kingdom of God which He was building. Jesus was teaching that He was the Good Shepherd and that not only were there going to be ‘other sheep’, meaning the Gentiles, brought into the sheepfold with the Jews but, all must enter the sheepfold through Him. The resulting flock of sheep would be comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles, which was prophetic and part of the Abrahamic covenant from Genesis

These teachings are contrary to the Hanukkah festivities and focus, which was/is to separate fully from anything or anyone non-Jewish, and celebrate the Maccabees, with the focus of some on that ‘messiah.’

In sharp contrast to the Maccabean mission of physical liberty through war, self focus and revolt to the governing authorities, disassociation and for some, resentment or hatred for those outside of Judaism, Jesus instead taught of loving enemies and forgiving and bringing those viewed as unclean into the fold through the only door that would make all spiritually clean. Himself. He taught and fulfilled, for example, the Isaiah prophecy of making God’s house a house of prayer for all people. He taught that all mankind, not just the pagan Gentiles, needed His cleansing.

Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.  [KJV]

Jesus often made a distinction between ‘the religion of the Pharisees’ and what He and the Scriptures said. That is why many could not receive Him. They went by man made religion and thought over the Truth in the Scriptures. The Scriptures were there for them. Jesus said so.

John 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [KJV]

Regarding Hanukkah, there is no doubt that if the legend of the oil was true in that God kept the oil burning for 8 days, He is more than able. However, Hanukkah is not about God, but rather about the Maccabees and the Jewish people within the religion of Judaism. God was very specific about how the Menorah was to be made, with 7 candlesticks. There was no divine directive to change that or celebrate with anything different, or in fact, change the law of Moses. God forbids the changing of His commandments and the adding to them, and yet we have Messianics following rabbinic traditions that do just that. That Judaism elevates their traditions and writings of the sages (found within the Talmud and kabbalah) above the Scriptures is what makes Judaism what is today. It is totally separate from what Christians or those who believe Jesus are to be about.  And that is the issue. The things of Christ are not about days and such, nor is our focus or glorying to be on man, but God alone:

Colossians 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;  [KJV]

For Christians , we need to apply the verses:

1 Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.   [KJV]

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Myth: Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of the oil and the victory of the Maccabees over the Gentile rule and should be celebrated by those in Hebrew Roots or Messianics instead of pagan Christmas.

A. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration for the Jewish people. It was never to be including those outside of Judaism. The historical facts show a far different story than many weave to bring others into celebrating this event. The Maccabee’s story is central to understanding what is legend and what is fact.

The Maccabean Revolt

The revolt that inspired the keeping of Hanukkah was through the actions of Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons: Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah, who eventually led the uprising. This small group of Jews called the Maccabees rebelled and risked their lives to, “live according to Jewish law,” and to prevent any further desecration of the Temple. 1

The story of the Maccabees and the Maccabean Revolt was reportedly commissioned by the Maccabees themselves, and is found in the Apocrypha’s 1st & 2nd Maccabees, which are found in Catholic and some Protestant Bibles. However, none of those writings are found in Jewish Bibles, but rather, the Maccabean Revolt is found referenced to in the extra-biblical writings of the Talmud. 2

From those and other historical sources such as Josephus’ Antiquities, we know that Antiochus or “Epiphanes”, outlawed the practice of Judaism prior to the second century BC. Idols and altars were established throughout Jerusalem where sacrifices were made to the various ‘gods’. In full rebellion to Almighty God, an idol was erected in the Temple, with many historically believing it to be an image of Zeus. Jews who disobeyed the directive to burn their Torah scrolls and cease from practicing Judaism were murdered. By about 167 BC, Mattathais Maccabees and his sons determined to stop the sacrilege of the Temple and proceeded to overthrow the Syrians. Judah Maccabees took the lead and the Jews recaptured the Temple. According to the various writings, they rededicated the altar on the 25th of Kislev, that is, November-December. The celebration for the dedication of the altar went on for eight days followed by the rededication of the Temple to God. 3

Following the Maccabean War, peace was re established temporarily with the Seleucids, and the Maccabean state became known as the Hasmoneans. They did not cease their war however, but discarded the temporary peace and continued with a civil war against the Seleucids and Hellenized Jews within Jerusalem. It was then that the Maccabees commissioned and paid for the writing of their war history called I Maccabees, which was fully propaganda about their exploits. Jewish loyalists called the Hasidism, who had also been against the Hellenizing Jews, were outraged not only by that propaganda, but also by the Maccabees claim to political and religious power. In response they formed a new opposition political party called the Perushim aka the Pharisees, who were separatists. 4

It was descendents of those Pharisees that Jesus dealt with many times and it was they who tried to stone Him and in the end, most rejected Him.

The Pharisees eventually became the Rabbis, who (years later) were responsible for writing the Mishnah and Talmud, and through them kept their hatred of the Maccabees entrenched in the writings. The Pharisees believed the Maccabees had committed blasphemy by uniting the political power seat with that of the priesthood. The Maccabees had used their military power to forcibly expand the Jewish kingdom by becoming a military dictatorship, forcing such as the Idumeans (Edomites descended from Esau) to convert to Judaism and follow the laws and rituals, as well as submit to the Jewish government. It became obvious that the more successful and wealthy they became, the more Hellenization took place within Jewish society. They became the major force behind it, doing exactly what they started out to overthrow.  Their political rule was eventually terminated by the conquest of the Romans. By the time of the Rabbis, the descendents of the Pharisees and Hasidism, Israel had faced massive loss of life, not just in the initial revolt, but in the following civil war where Jew rose up against Jew.  5

Jewish Rabbi Daniel Kohn, in answer to the question, “Is the miracle of Chanukah made up?” stated that the whole concept of the miracle of the oil, was indeed untrue. The actual lighting of the Menorah for the dedication of the Temple was real and based on spiritual significance, but the rabbinic writings in the Talmud took the shift from the Maccabees military victory to that of the claimed miracle of the oil for the Menorah. 6

The perceived glory of the Maccabean victory became overshadowed due to all they did which caused harm to fellow Jews, and their focus became viewed as dangerous and containing seditious ideas that were to be suppressed. The fear of glorifying the military success of the Maccabeans while under Roman rule, formed the basis for the idea of inventing the story of the miracle of the oil. By making the oil the focus, they masked the truth about the Maccabees and their shameful legacy for many years. By reinventing the stories, the rabbis kept the holiday alive with a shift in focus and thereby inserting more religious significance, which in turn used to strengthen and build Judaism.  7

As an added point, the Eastern Orthodox Church venerates the Maccabees as Saints and The Dictionary of Bible and Religion suggests that the Maccabees were exalted to the point of Messiah.  8  Many venerated Judah Maccabees specifically as the awaited Messiah. These are the facts surrounding Hanukkah.

Some Further History on Jews Killing Jews

As stated above, while many celebrate Hanukkah and the Maccabees, what many do not realize is that the Maccabees themselves became a destructive force to Judaism.

For many years, Hanukkah symbolized the overthrow of pagan Gentile influence from Jewish spirituality, and the rededication to God and the Mosaic Law. However, history reveals that the wrath which was dealt out by the Maccabees did not end the path of disaster which Israel had been treading. Whether reading ‘Gentile’ historical or Jewish resources, the end result was that the Maccabees became power hungry and corrupt. What started out for many as a zealous spiritual endeavor based on wrath, became immersed in corruption, murder and destruction, and the eventual act of Jews killing Jews. The war and rebellion became a civil war. According to Josephus in his Antiquities, within 65 years of the initial revolt, a challenge was put forth by a number of Pharisees towards one of the corrupt leaders of the Maccabees, one Alexander Janneus. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Alexander who was performing as high priest, corrupted the libation ceremony by pouring the water over his feet instead of on the altar as the Pharisees had decreed. [Please note this ceremony was not from the God-given Law, but added in and decreed by the Pharisees as part of their oral traditions.] In response, the religious Jews pelted him with lemons. It was after that time that Janneus had a partition-wall of wood built around the altar and the temple, where it was only lawful for the priests to enter. In this way, he kept the multitude of Jews from coming at him. 9 Outraged by the lemon incident, Janneus ordered his soldiers to slay 6,000 of the Jews, resulting in a civil war which lasted six years and by the end, approximately 50,000 Jews were killed. At the end of the war, the Jewish soldiers were ordered by Janneus to crucify 800 of the Pharisees. He then ordered the throats of their children and wives cut, while they watched. 10

The initial Revolt lasted about four years, from 167-163 BC. By 66 AD, the Zealots again revolted against their Gentile oppressors. Just as with the earlier Maccabees, again the revolt ended with Jews killing Jews, and many would agree that it changed the course of Jewish history forever. Many know that by 70 AD the Romans destroyed the Temple, burned Jerusalem, and slaughtered thousands of people. The last stronghold at Masada ended with the rebel Jews committing suicide.

From a Christian perspective we know that Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple.(Matthew 24) Many view it as a physical ending of the sacrificial system and the change in priesthood, meaning also the closing of the door on the Mosaic covenant with the fulfillment of the promised New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Isaiah 49:22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

It meant that now all, both Jew and Gentile, could come to God through Jesus Christ who was the final sacrifice, once for all.

Ephesians 2:13-19 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is no need for a Temple, because Jesus is the Temple and has also made us the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The sacrifice of our bodies and the sacrifice of praise take the place of the offerings.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. [KJV]

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Myth: God ordained Hanukkah and it is Scriptural, therefore Messianics and Christians should celebrate it instead of Christmas. The ceremonies are found in the Scriptures.

A. There is no Scripture that suggests that God commanded or suggested the keeping of Hanukkah. It is not found in the commandments given to Moses for Israel and is not listed in any of the feasts or holidays commanded by God. It was first celebrated by the Maccabees and became a religious holiday which became enforced by the Pharisees and rabbis through the Talmud. It was not God ordained in the Scriptures.

In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed in the article, To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud, he noted that the Pharisees brought in many traditions, observances and festivities which were not part of the written law of Moses given by God. These additional traditions, often referred to as the oral law, are what were rejected by the Sadducees. However, most Jews defend and fully support the additions found throughout the Rabbinic writings of the Talmud and Kabbalah, which have become ingrained in Judaism as it is known today. According to Hyam Maccoby, the Pharisees not only added the festivals of Hanukkah and Purim, they added to the canon of Scripture and added new doctrine to Judaism, which included new rites to Temple worship, and they have continually brought in new prayers and ceremonies for use in Jewish synagogues. These are all additions that many Messianic congregations also utilize and participate in. 1

The principal source for the story of Hanukkah and the legend of the oil is found in the Talmud and many Jewish and non-Jewish sources discuss the fact that the legend of the oil burning for eight days in the Temple is just that, legend. Which brings one to an interesting point.

We have been told that most Messianics do not approve of, nor do they embrace the teachings from the Talmud, although some have admitted to this author that they do, and one merely needs to peruse the writings of many leadership to see they do. And of course the activities and Messianic dress is based on rabbinic aka talmudic or kabbalist traditions. So, why are most using the Legend of the Maccabees and the associated Miracle of the Oil story to enter into the celebration for that Legend?

Hanukkah Ceremonies

The 9-candle menorah (Chanukiah) is used to celebrate Chanukah and contemporary use of it is in celebration of the victory of what many view as a Messiah, Judas Maccabees and his brothers. The story includes the cleansing of the Temple and the legend of oil miraculously burning for eight days.

Some suggest that initially, the lighting of the Temple menorah in the rededication ceremony  was based on the commandment to light the Menorah with pure oil as is written in Leviticus 23 and 24. That was immediately followed by the commandment to observe the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot festival for 8 days, which means 7 days of  Sukkot followed by Shemini Atzere. “The Sages saw this as a Divine hint that Chanukah should be for 8 days.” 2   The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated in the fall, not late November to late December when Hanukkah is celebrated, yet this conflict does not appear to be noticed by most.

Following the seven days of Sukkot, the eighth day is called Shemini Atzeret, which literally means “the assembly of the eighth day”. It is actually a separate holiday from Sukkot, and does not involve the special rituals of Tabernacles. Rabbinic writings (Talmud) explain it that, “our Creator is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed himself so much that He asks us to stay another day”. Another explanation is that Sukkot is a holiday for all of mankind to participate in, but when it is over, only the Jewish people are invited by God to stay the eighth day for a more intimate celebration with Him. 3

According to the teachings of Kabbalah and Hasidism, the eighth day for Hannukah is the final ceremony for when the dedication of the altar took place by the Maccabees and it is  the “seal” of the High Holiday season of Yom Kippur (day of atonement) , and is therefore considered a time to repent out of love for God. Due to this belief,  many Hasidic Jews greet each other with the traditional Yom Kippur wish, “may you be sealed totally for good”. It is taught in Hasidic and Kabbalistic literature that this day is particularly favorable for answers to prayers. 4

Through kabbalah’s gematria, eight is viewed as representing the Jewish People’s special role in human history. Seven is the number of days of creation, meaning the completion of the material cosmos, and planets and eight represents the Infinite. The Eighth Day of the Assembly festival, is according to Jewish Law a festival for Jews only. Similarly, in Judaism the rite of circumcision which brings a Jewish male into God’s Covenant, is performed on the eighth day. In Judaism, Hanukkah’s eight days celebrate their  victory over Hellenistic humanism,  and as such have great symbolic importance for practicing Jews.

To simplify, what they are saying regarding the implementation of this holiday, is that within Judaism’s writings, they changed the timing, purpose and length of the Feast of Tabernacles as ordained by God and as described in Leviticus in the Law of Moses. They then ascribed to it the new celebration proclaimed by the Maccabees and which was then enforced by the writings of the rabbis in the Talmud. That despite the very clear warning by God to not add to or change what He had commanded in the Law.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

…12:28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.

…12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. [KJV]

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Myth: The Hanukkah Menorah with nine candles symbolizes Christ and therefore all Messianics and Christians should be celebrating Hanukkah instead of pagan Christmas.

The Candle Question & Messianics

A. The Hanukkah festival is observed in Judaism by the lighting of a special nine candle Menorah, although the Menorah ordained by God for the Temple has seven candles. One candle is lit per night, and each additional candle is lit on each night of the holiday, progressing to the eighth on the last night. The ninth candle, separated either above or below the rest, is called the ‘shamash’ or guard or servant candle, which is lit each night in order to light the other candles. It’s purpose is fully secular, not religious, and is strictly for Judaism to which this holiday belongs.

According to the Talmud, the purpose of the extra light is to adhere to the prohibition, specified in Tracate Shabbat 21b–23a, against using the Hanukkah lights for anything other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah story. 1

And yet, we have Messianics who utilize the rabbinic writings, including the Talmud and the Zohar which is the kabbalah, and state that the whole use of 9 candles was a prophecy about Christ.

Some Messianics also align Chanukah to a celebration of the conception of Mary, with some going so far as declaring that December 19 was “the evening before the conception of Mary”.

One Messianic stated in an email:

“…the evening’ before the conception of Mary. “*** From Peter: For all of you awaiting the day of the conception of Yeshua, it will be in the early evening hours of Sunday. It occurred in the early evening when Miryam entered the home of Elizabeth. At that very moment in history the Messiah Yeshua, the Word/Torah was made flesh in the womb of Miryam.  peterm ” 2.

According to these people, the proof of the conception of Mary calculations are found in the writings of various Messianics practicing kabbalah and gematria, with the approximate time of conception believed to have fallen sometime in late November to late December. They proudly proclaim that this is exactly the period of time for the Festival of Chanukah, which is also when they believe the Magi arrived fifteen months later. Another said:

“…for Jews who light the Chanukiah this year, or for those who can learn from our customs, we should keep in mind that in our encounter with “darkness”, we don’t want to use the flame to burn and destroy the world, but rather, we want to use it to illuminate the whole world with Torah. We want to light the way for all the Nations so that they can prosper materially and spiritually. Even though they will never fully respond to this before the coming of Mashiach, we must still give them this prescription. It is the same as it was in the time of the Hellenistic oppression: by increasing our light, the darkness fades and the bright Morningstar arises.”3

Words cannot express how un-Scriptural these things are. The man-ordained celebration was never intended to represent the conception of Mary — and it is certainly not viewed like that in Judaism nor their writings in the Talmud or Zohar. Nor did Almighty God feel it necessary to suggest precisely how and when these things happened. However, that does not hinder many from delivering the intent of Hanukkah as being for Gentiles to join with the Jews in this celebration, so that the Jews can “illuminate the whole world.”  What a sharp contrast to the historical and original intent of the Maccabees–to separate from all Gentiles and their practices and beliefs, and also the current view of Hannukah by practicing Jews of Judaism.. And what a very sharp contrast to the Scripture where Jesus said He was the Light of the world.

John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”  [KJV]

Jesus also said those who followed Him were to be salt and light of the world.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. [KJV]

Christians are told in the Scriptures to do the following:

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 24:44-47 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [KJV]

Nowhere are we told to go into all the world and preach Torah, because it is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some Messianics have determined that the whole legend of the oil as being true and go on to declare that the original and specially designed menorah and all the symbolism was meant to symbolize Jesus. It is also being stated that the Jews were free to change what and how God ordained the Temple menorah and feasts to be. The belief is that the Maccabees wanted to make the holiday so much more special, (than the God commanded ones?) that they copied the Feast of Tabernacles, but changed the menorah to the 9 candles instead of the seven. The 9th candle is, according to them, used to light all others and represents Jesus. 4  Which of course is fully contrary to what Judaism teaches. And it is their celebration…

Some teach that the original Chanukiah, aside from the 9 candles, had the Star of Remphan, also called the Star of Moloch, emblazoned as a symbol on it and which people today refer to as the star of David.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica’s article, Magen David, acknowledges that the hexagram was used by  magicians in connection with Judah Maccabee.

” The oldest text mentioning a shield of David is contained in an explanation of a magical “alphabet of the angel Metatron”…among the Hasidei Ashkenaz of the 12th C. But here it was the holy Name of 72 names which was said to have been on this protective shield together with the name MKBY, which the tradition of the magicians connected with Judah Maccabee.” 5

Some of those very facts are discussed in the Kabbalah, Talismans and Masters of the Name and other articles in the series, “To Embrace Hebrew Roots.” 6

Of the many Scriptures concerning this are:

Acts 7:42,43 ” Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the STAR OF YOUR GOD REMPHAN, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

Amos 5:26-27 But ye have born the tabernacle of your Moloch, and Chiun (Remphan) your images, the STAR OF YOUR GOD, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore, will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord…

Exodus 25:30 And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me alway.
31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
35 And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.  [KJV]

God dealt with the issue of the star of remphan/chiun/molech that some in Israel went after…

Referencing Strong’s Concordance about Remphan, we see:

4481 Rhemphan [hrem-fan’] by incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin 3594; n pr m AV – Remphan 1; 1 Remphan = “the shrunken (as lifeless)” 1) the name of an idol worshipped secretly by the Israelites in the wilderness.”

3594 Kiyuwn [kee-yoon’] from 3559; n pr dei AV – Chiun 1; 1 Chiun = “an image” or “pillar” 1) probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolise Israelite apostasy.”

Various articles reference The Talisman of Saturn, which involves a pentagram and a hexagram. From one occult source concerning the use of this symbol:

“On the first face is engraved…a pentagram or a star with five points. On the other side is engraved a bull’s head enclosed in a SIX-POINTED STAR, and surrounded by letters composing the name REMPHA, THE PLANETARY GENIUS OF SATURN, according to the alphabet of the Magi.” (Christian, p. 304-5) 7

In other words, the hexagram used today as the star of David came historically from non-Biblical foundations. Some within Judaism openly admit that it came from Babylon.

The point is, neither Hannukah, nor the 9 candle menorah were ordained by God in the Scriptures. And it is to the Scriptures that we are to turn to confirm our beliefs and doctrine.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

James 1:21-22 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  [KJV]

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Myth. Christians believe Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

A. Obviously it is not, although some would be inclined to say it is the actual birth day of Christ. For those in Hebrew Roots, December 25 is anathema, and by using the pagan roots of secularism attempt to apply them to how Christians celebrate Christ’s birth. They push the “real date” back to the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall as the correct date, but do little to celebrate His birth in any case, as everything about “Jesus” is pagan and everything about keeping the feasts is right. Once the issue of the person and name of Jesus Christ being pagan is established as a ‘fact’, then the Scriptures can be overturned, which is done systematically, until the New Testament is believed to have been totally corrupted by pagans.

Christmas, although having many secular and unnecessary elements, for most Christians, means a time to publicly tell the story of the miracle of Jesus Christ’s birth and all related to it, including the fulfillment of prophecies. May we never be silent on these Truths.

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Original article and footnotes can be found here:

http://www.seekgod.ca/hr/hrfaqs4a2.htm#1

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The word Easter comes from the German, eostre which means “east”, having to do with the dawn or sunrise.  There is only one old source [Bede] that connects it with a goddess named Eostre [which appears to be exaggerated], but there is zero historical proof that she even existed.  The only possibility is an obscure and minute region of German folklore which is referred to by Bede with no records or references of any kind of worship or festivals in her honor from that time period.

Bede, c.700

Eostur-monath has a name which is now translated Paschal month, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance. [Christian monk Bede, De temporum ratione (“On the Reckoning of Time”), Ch. xv, “The English months”

This was [Bede’s] attempted etymology of Easter – which is  only called that in English of course. The problem is that as the Goddess in question, Eostre is completely unknown otherwise, … so  this proposed etymology is probably spurious. In the 19th century a German antiquarian invented Osatra, as the German form, using Bede as his source.

Bede admits this idea is his speculation – he is not actually aware of a goddess called Eostre, he just thinks there was one. There is not a single reference to her, from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, any of the other writings we have from the period, or from inscriptions. No depiction – no amulets – nothing. Her Germanic version was invented completely in the 19th century, and again has no evidence whatsoever from history or archaeology to back it up.” 1

It is equally valid, however, to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon “Estor-monath”simply meant “the month of opening”, or the “month of beginning”, and that Bede mistakenly connected it with a goddess who either never existed at all, or was never associated with a particular season, but merely, like Eos and Aurora, with the Dawn itself.” [Stations of the Sun, p.180]

“Eostre is a very obscure Goddess, and uniquely Anglo-Saxon Heathen. She is not mentioned at all in the Norse corpus and only fleetingly in the Old English by Bede in De Temporum Rationale.  Her material is so scant that some scholars have speculated she was not a Goddess at all, but that Eostre was merely a name for the holiday.” 2

“All we know from Bede was that she was worshipped sometime in April. Bede also mentions another Anglo-Saxon goddess, Hredhe, who was honoured in March, and for whom the month of March was named. If the heathen Anglo-Saxons actually did worship a goddess at the Vernal Equinox, then according to the only historical evidence we have it would have been Hredhe, not Eostre.” 3

Ostare is simply the German word for “Easter” ….

“No Norwegian, Icelandic or other Scandinavian primary source mentions ‘Ostara’. In fact, the name ‘Ostara’ isn’t found anywhere in connection with a goddess. ‘Ostara’ is simply the Old High German name for the Christian Festival of Easter.” 4

The “word” Eostre may have been borrowed from a pagan source, but the celebration of Easter is not pagan.  The concept of Easter in Christianity comes from the Jewish Passover as fulfilled by Christ, not because of the pagan festivals of the spring equinox.  If this were so, then Passover should also be connected to paganism because it is celebrated in the Spring as well.

Although Hebrew Roots has really tried foisting off Easter/Eostre as Ishtar, Asheroth,  [Greek goddesses from Greek mythology] or from Semiramis and Tammuz in the OT – they are unrelated to  Easter.   Easter is the English word that comes etymologically from the German Ostare.  Unfortunately, along with that, the myth about the egg laying “Easter rabbit” comes from the erroneous connection to Ashtarte/Ishtar [also known as Asheroth] and Semiramis, which are mistakenly assigned to “Easter” by the likes of Michael Rood.  This “teaching” has made the rounds through the Messianic Hebrew Roots movement as “truth”.  In fact, the way he presents these things is a sensationalized attempt to make Christians look like pagan worshiping heathens.

Michael Rood:

“Semiramis, the queen of heaven, was “born again” as the goddess Easter (Ashtarte) as she emerged from a giant egg that landed in the Euphrates river at sunrise on the “sun” day after the vernal equinox. To proclaim her divine authority, she changed a bird into an egg laying rabbit. As the cult developed, the priests of Easter would impregnate young virgins on the altar of the goddess of fertility at sunrise on Easter Sunday. A year later the priests of Easter would sacrifice those three-month-old babies on the altar at the front of the Sanctuary and dye Easter eggs in the blood of the sacrificed infants. (Michael John Rood, The Mystery of Iniquity, Chapter 8)

Bunnies/hares/rabbits were not originally associated with Eostre.  The Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore bluntly states:

“Nowadays, many writers claim that hares were sacred to the Anglo-Saxon [goddess] Eostre, but there is no shred of evidence for this.”

The association of rabbits with Easter began with the myths surrounding Eostre.  Because of the brief words of Bede, folklore and traditions were more than likely started about hares and eggs and their association with Eostre.  Bede’s comments about the legend of Eostre as a spring goddess [which historically cannot be proved] provided the “breeding ground” for a goddess who cavorted with hares [rabbits].  These legends began in the early 1600s in Germany and were eventually spread to England via the Saxons.

The Grimm Brothers took Bede’s short comments as “factual” and embellished them along with the legends of the day and wrote fairy tales about hares and eggs.  One of the stories is that Eostre found a bird half dead in the middle of winter and turned it into a furry hare to save its life.  Other stories morphed from that into an Easter bunny delivering eggs. 5

More German folklore says the Easter bunny and egg tradition came from the 17th century:

“The character of the “Easter bunny” first appeared in 16th-century German writings, which said that if well-behaved children built a nest out of their caps or bonnets, they would be rewarded with colored eggs. This legend became part of American folklore in the 18th century, when German immigrants settled in the eastern U.S.” 6

“The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the United States in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhas,” sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws.” “Hase” means “hare”.  According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Noting many related landmarks and customs, Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of Ostara.

The German and Amish legends were most likely rooted in European folklore about hares’ eggs  which seems to have been a confusion between hares raising their young at ground level and the finding of plovers‘ nests nearby, abandoned by the adult birds to distract predators. Hares use a hollow called a form rather than a burrow. Lapwings nest on the same sort of ground, and their nests look very similar to hare forms. So in the Spring, eggs would be found in what looked like hare forms, giving rise to the belief that the hare laid eggs in the spring.” 7

The coloring or dying of Easter eggs is of unknown origin.  Some evidence goes back to the early Egyptians and Persians.  Christianity adopted the practice of dying the eggs red as a symbol of Christ’s blood shed on the cross.  Early Catholicism required that eggs be given up for lent fasting, so there were an abundance of eggs at Easter, which is a possible source for their popularity on Easter morning.

There is no historical source that shows worshipers of Ishtar took the blood of sacrificed babies and used their blood to dip eggs, although this information can be found on numerous websites – with no sources.  As Ishtar has nothing to do with Easter, it is obvious that the more sensational Hebrew Roots adherents punctuate Easter with bizarre pagan practices, the more they feel vindicated to demote and denigrate the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The word pesach comes from the Aramaic/Chaldean word pasah – so it’s origin is “pagan”, which makes it as “pagan” as “Easter”.  The Greek paschal also comes from the Aramaic.

From the online etymological dictionary:

paschal

1427, “of or pertaining to Easter,” from L.L. paschalis, from pascha “Passover, Easter,” from Gk. pascha “Passover,” from Aramaic pasha “pass over,” corresponding to Heb. pesah, from pasah “to pass over” (see Passover). Pasche was an early M.E. term for “Easter” (see Easter).

In light of the etymology, it would be incorrect to say that Christians “mistranslated” the word pascha [particularly Acts 12:4]. History shows that pascha and Easter have been used interchangeably for centuries. 8 Easter is simply the English translation for pascha.  There is no conspiracy, no Greek paganism involved.  The celebration of the resurrection of Christ came to be known as Easter.

William Tyndale, in the 1500s coined the word Passover in his translation and used also used Easter fourteen times, which shows that the English word was in use in the middle ages.  Tyndale was an expert in German, so he knew the translation of Ostare to the English Easter. Some of the earlier translations also used Easter.  That the world and Christians have added other traditions to their festivities in no way lessens what Easter means to those who love Jesus Christ and worship Him, their risen Lord and Savior.

Judaism often uses the word Passover, which as noted, comes from a “pagan” translator, from a Hebrew Roots perspective.  The Jewish people have historically taken practices and words from other cultures and tongues and made them their own, with a new slant.  Like synagogue and affikomen – both Greek words connected to Greek/Hellenistic culture.

Of course Christians took pascha/Passover/Easter and refocused it on the fulfillment of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Christians are more than aware of Passover and the commands of God pertaining to it in the OT.  On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the disciples and Jesus were celebrating Passover, having killed the Passover and were eating the supper.  This is when Jesus pointed out that He was the bread and wine – the entrance of the New Covenant, bought in His blood.  He said: “This do in remembrance of Me” – referring to the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, which had replaced the feast of Passover.  It is clearly there in the Gospels.  It is not difficult to grasp.

Mat 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

****

Luk 22:15  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

Luk 22:16  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luk 22:17  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

Luk 22:18  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Luk 22:19  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Luk 22:20  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

******

Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.

Joh 6:49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Joh 6:53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Joh 6:54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Joh 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Joh 6:57  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

Joh 6:58  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

That night Jesus also washed the disciple’s feet.  Something that Hebrew Roots appears to leave out of their feasting.  Perhaps because it obviously conveys that Passover was completed and fulfilled in Christ, with the emphasis on serving.  It’s interesting that HR says nothing about this practice as part of the “Seder” – it was obviously left out.  Jesus actually said that we should serve others as He served us and gave His life for us.  Instead of moving forward in the grace and love of Christ, HR wants to go under the Law to keep feasts and totally forget what Jesus implemented.

Joh 13:4  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

Joh 13:5  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Joh 13:6  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

Joh 13:7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Joh 13:8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Joh 13:9  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Joh 13:10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Joh 13:11  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

Joh 13:12  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

Joh 13:13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Joh 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Joh 13:15  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Joh 13:16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Passover was given by God as a remembrance of when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt.  The original rendering is told in Exodus 12.  When God gave the commandments to Moses at Mt Sinai, seven feasts were also commanded to be kept by Israel during the year.  Passover was the first of these. Passover/Unleavened Bread was also one of the three required feasts for males to return to Jerusalem to keep.  We can see evidence of this is the NT when Mary and Jospeh took Jesus to Jerusalem to keep Passover when He was twelve years old.  The Passover seder was not implemented at this point in history – it is a much latter Rabbincial addition.

Passover also includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Passover is a one day observance with Unleavened Bread for eight days.  By the time of the New Testament, Passover and Unleavened Bread were incorporated as one Feast.  We can see by the testimony of the Gospels that Unleavened Bread was actually the beginning of Passover and interestingly appears to occur inclusive of Passover, which begs the question of how did Jesus die at the exact moment that the lambs were sacrificed when they were eating the Passover [lamb] the night before Messianics are convinced that Jesus was actually crucified?

Mat 26:17  Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Mar 14:12  *And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover*, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

Luk 22:1  Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

Luk 22:7  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

It is obvious from the NT that Jesus fulfilled the Passover with His death.  Although some Messianics state that Jesus did not die as “sin offering” in remembrance of Passover.   Paul stated specifically that Jesus was the Passover Lamb!  If one looks at the Mosaic Law, it is clear that Passover also required a sin offering – once again proving that Jesus did in fact fully fulfill Passover.

Num 28:16  And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.

Num 28:17  And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

Num 28:18  In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:

Num 28:19  But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:

Num 28:20  And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;

Num 28:21  A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:

Num 28:22  And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.

Num 28:23  Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [the word Passover = Lamb]

Mar 14:12  *And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover*, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

Luk 22:7  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

Unleavened Bread is an integral part of Passover. The escape from sin and bondage is allegorical to Egypt throughout the Bible.

Deu 16:3  Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

Deu 16:4  And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

Exo 34:25  Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Co 5:8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Luk 12:1  In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Gal 5:9  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

The Passover Seder called the Haggadah, is the Talmudic interpretation of how Judaism keeps the feast of Passover. The Seder is a set of “late” instructions and traditions that have been fully incorporated into Judaism, that were Hellenistic in their origins.  The Seder was not yet practiced in the first century.  They have nothing to do with Jesus Christ, although Messianics and many Christians are convinced there are “hidden” meanings with the practices of the Seder that point to Christ, and that He observed the Seder at the Last Supper. The Talmud denies Christ, and therefore its decisions and instructions are not associated with Him.  How can a system that denies who He is give any insight as to His fulfillment through His death and resurrection by way of a feast that is perceived to be unfulfilled and ongoing – and has nothing to do with Him?

*** Stay tuned for Part 2 [The historical Hellenistic origins of the Passover Seder] and Part 3 [Why the Passover Seder is not allegorical of Jesus Christ].


http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/eostre-never-existed-why-easter-is-not-a-pagan-holiday/ and:

http://www.celtic-catholic-church.org/oak_tree/easter.html

http://www.englatheod.org/eostre.htm

3   http://www.manygods.org.uk/articles/essays/Eostre.shtml

4  ibid

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre

http://www.answers.com/topic/the-easter-bunny

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Easter_Bunny

7  ibid

http://www.easterau.com/

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Many state and believe that this means that because Jesus was a Jew and followed Torah we must also. The Gentiles, who make a large part of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots movements are not Jewish. Therefore one cannot ‘go back’ to something that was not ours in the first place. There are Jews worldwide who find it an affront for Gentiles pretending to be Jewish, pretending to participate in what they feel are Jewish traditions and practices. In it is perhaps the ultimate anti-semitism, because the behaviors not only offend actual Jews, but Gentiles are known to be claiming to be the real Jews. That leaves those who are actual Jews as being imposters according to some within Hebrew Roots. We see then, that we have the doctrine of Jesus was Jewish being corrupted into being those within Hebrew Roots are the ‘real Jews’ and they are the ones having the only truth.

Christianity and Judaism are almost entirely different in beliefs, and those who do not understand that have become a stumbling block to Jews. Those within Judaism reject Jesus Christ, the New Testament and reinterpret prophecies and other Scriptures with that in mind, aside from the incorporation of the Talmud and Kabbalah by many.  Judaism today is rabbinic Judaism. We cannot dismiss those facts. There are practicing Jews who have stated that those within Hebrew Roots and Messianics are straddling a fence with one foot in Judaism and one foot in Christianity. They urge that individuals make a choice on which they are actually going to follow, because it cannot be both.

We are followers of Jesus Christ who was God manifest in the flesh. And He brought a New Covenant that was unique.

Hebrews 3:1 Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honor than the house.
4 For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God.
5 And Moses truly was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

http://www.seekgod.ca/hr/hrfaqs.htm#idioms

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What is Rosh Hashanah? Why is it considered the Jewish New Year yet falls on the Feast of Trumpets which is actually in the 10th month of the year, not the first of the year? Why do Messianics and those in Hebrew Roots observe this holiday when there is nothing in Scripture to support it? Why have Christians now embraced this holiday and prophetically promote Rosh Hashanah as when the Rapture will happen or others, who time the second return of Christ with the Feast of Trumpets?

In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah, which means “New Year” commemorates creation and is the imminent arrival of God’s judgment, in Judaism. On this day, it is said that God inspects the books of judgment for every person. It is advantageous, then, for Jews to repent of their sin, and excise sin as well before that day [the month prior, called Elul]. It is a time of reviewing the past year to see if they owe anyone money or favors, as well as returning borrowed items. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] are considered the “Days of Awe” in which the things one does during that time will guarantee how the year will go for them in regard to the judgment of God. It is also the time that God decides who will live or die in the coming year.

As part of the Feast of Trumpets [Yom Teruah], tradition in Judaism has the blowing of trumpets in the synagogues, heralding the New Year.

I have provided several quotes from Jewish sites describing Rosh Hoshanah. I think it’s important to understand clearly exactly what Judaism believes and practices compared to what NT believers understand about the Scriptures. I do not see harmony between the two, but rather a lot of contradictions to the OT and especially the NT, which we know is fulfillment of the old covenant.

“The month of Elul is the final month in the Jewish year. This month is a particularly propitious time for prayer, self introspection, and repentance. It is a time of intense spiritual preparation for the coming year and the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This year (2009/5770) the month of Elul begins on Friday August 21, 2009 and lasts through September 18, 2009.

Rosh Hashanah is the first and second days of the first Jewish month of Tishrei. It marks the beginning of the Jewish new year. The celebration of this holiday is marked with solemnity, as it is the day on which the whole world is judged for the coming year. Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the world, as it was on this day that G-d created Man on the 6th day of creation. Every year, on this day, we proclaim G-d as our one and true King.”

http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/roshhashanah/

“In particular, the first festival of the year, Rosh Hashanah, seems to fit no familiar mold. It is the day on which we tremulously submit to the divine sovereignty and crown G-d as our king, but as the Chassidic masters point out, a coronation is always a festive event, with bands playing in the streets and crowds picnicking in the parks and fields. It is the day on which we stand in judgment before G-d, the day on which the Heavenly Court rules “who shall live and who shall die…who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched… who shall fall and who shall rise”; but also the day on which we “eat lush foods and drink sweets… for the joy of the Eternal is your strength.” The Talmud offers the image of a person coming to court where a life-or-death verdict will be handed down on him, but he is dressed in white and has a feast awaiting him at home, confident that he will triumph in his trial.”

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNew…uction.htm

“Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year … the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. More on this concept at Days of Awe.

The name “Rosh Hashanah” is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.”

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm

“The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.

One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that G-d has “books” that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d’s decree. The actions that change the decree are “teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah,” repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These “books” are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Among the customs of this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.”

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm

“The beginning of the month of Elul marks the one month notice until the “Divine audit” on Rosh Hashana. Throughout the month of Elul, Jews search for every receipt and credit slip left by their behavior. “Did I belittle the secretary who couldn’t remember my name?” “Did I borrow $20 and forget to return it?” “Did I…?”
Elul is the time to look back over the past year, sort out our strengths and weaknesses, and see what impact our deeds have had. Like sorting the receipts, we can put our actions into little piles: wrong to G-d, our fellow humans or even ourselves, and good to G-d, our fellow humans or ourselves. Sometimes an action may fall into several categories. Reviewing our behavior is, according to the Medieval scholar Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), the beginning of the first step in teshuva, repentance. The Jewish view of repentance goes much farther than mere regret. Teshuva is a pro-active process that recognizes our fallibility and our ability to change.

On Rosh Hashana G-d holds each man and woman accountable for his or her actions over the last year … While people should strive to improve themselves throughout the year, as the month of Elul begins and the Shofar is sounded, we are reminded that there is just one month left. Thirty days remain to check one’s balance and settle old accounts. By using Elul to prepare, one is able to face the Divine audit on Rosh Hashana with clarity and confidence, knowing that one has moved towards his/her spiritual goal and has made a better connection with the power of the day, and with G-d.”

http://www.njop.org/html/Roshessay.html

Another good summary of Rosh Hashanah can be found here:

http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/roshhashanah.htm

One of the Jewish traditions of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich. This is the practice of bringing pieces of bread in one’s pockets and then going to a fast moving stream or river and casting the bread on the water. The bread represents sin being cast and swept away by the current.

For those who follow Christ, this practice is completely contradictory to salvation and the full remission of sins that we have in Christ. I am not sure why those who believe in Jesus Christ would do such a thing? Upon confession and repentance to God for sin, He forgives immediately. It is a simple, beautiful thing that we have the assurance of this forgiveness and do not need to spend days preparing and then casting our sins in free flowing water, represented by bread. God is the one who has cast our sins as far as the east is from the west, and as deep as the sea.

Psalm 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Mic 7:20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Clearly, observing Rosh Hashanah, which was developed by the sages/Rabbis of Judaism who do not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah – and as Rosh Hashanah is Judaism’s tradition and practice, cannot have a place in the life of a believer. Rosh Hashanah denies the finished work of Christ and is a man-made system that has no merit in one’s relationship with the Lord.

There is not much information in the Bible on the Feast of The Feast of Trumpets. We do know that it required a sacrifice for sin and therefore; is fulfilled completely in Christ with further implications – as noted further down.

Here is the Scripture pertaining to it:

Lev 23:24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
Lev 23:25 Ye shall do no servile work; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah.

Num 29:1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets unto you.
Num 29:2 And ye shall offer a burnt-offering for a sweet savor unto Jehovah: one young bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:3 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for the bullock, two tenth parts for the ram,
Num 29:4 and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;
Num 29:5 and one he-goat for a sin-offering, to make atonement for you;
Num 29:6 besides the burnt-offering of the new moon, and the meal-offering thereof, and the continual burnt-offering and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings, according unto their ordinance, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto Jehovah.

For those who advocate, teach, and promote that Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled at a future date in either the rapture or the 2nd coming, I would ask how this can be? The Feast of Trumpets required the blowing of many trumpets. When Christ returns, He will descend with *one* trump and a shout, once – not for a rapture and then later at His second coming. I have heard some say in Hebrew Roots that they must “practice” the Lord’s return by blowing the trumpets. I cannot imagine anything quite so goofy or sacrilegious as that.

In the Hebrew, “teruah” is not the word trumpet – it is a signal, shout, or blast. It is implied in Lev 23 because the word “blow” is used as well.

Lev 23:24 Speak1696 unto413 the children1121 of Israel,3478 saying,559 In the seventh7637 month,2320 in the first259 day of the month,2320 shall ye have1961 a sabbath,7677 a memorial2146 of blowing of trumpets,8643 a holy6944 convocation.4744

H8643
תּרוּעה
terû‛âh
BDB Definition:
1) alarm, signal, sound of tempest, shout, shout or blast of war or alarm or joy
1a) alarm of war, war-cry, battle-cry
1b) blast (for march)
1c) shout of joy (with religious impulse)
1d) shout of joy (in general)

The word “trumpet” itself is not used in either text. The word “teruah” [H8643] is used 36 times in the OT and associated with trumpets about 9 times – that is only 25% of the usage. Here is the breakdown:

shout 11, shouting 8, alarm 6, sound 3, blowing 2, joy 2, miscellaneous 4 [sounded, sounding, shouted]

Another wonderful example of how “teruah” is used indicating shouting and joy is found in Ezra [each of the bolded underlined words are “teruah”].

Ezra 3:10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
Ezr 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
Ezr 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
Ezr 3:13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

With that in mind, think about the birth of Christ. Gabriel announced His birth to Mary – a remarkable wondrous occasion in which a miracle was manifested in a virgin – she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit fulfilling Isaiah 7:14 as well. AWESOME!

The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds with radiating glory all around, and a multitude of angels heralded His coming and sang for joy as it resounded in the Heavens. Amazing how that all fits together so well when you look at the meaning of “teruah”. This really indicates fulfillment in Christ’s coming as well as His sacrifice for sin.

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luk 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luk 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luk 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luk 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


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What is Purim?  What are its origins?  Who celebrates Purim and why?  All these questions are answered in the following article, originally posted by Vic at:

http://www.seekgod.ca/forum/showthread.php?tid=160
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Purim

Purim is recorded in the the book of Esther in the Scriptures and was focused on the Jewish people and states clearly concerning the remembrance of Purim, in Esther 9:26-32, “The Jews ordained, and took upon them,” and “as they had decreed for themselves…”.It originally was viewed as non-religious and in an article “Purim”, written by Kaufmann Kohler and Henry Malter for the Jewish Encyclopeidia.com

“…Aside from the much-mooted question whether Purim is of Jewish or of heathen origin, it is certain that, as it appears in the Book of Esther, the festival is altogether devoid of religious spirit—an anomaly in Jewish religious history. This is due to the worldly spirit of the Book of Esther. The only religious allusions therein are the mention of fasting in iv. 16 and ix. 31, and perhaps the expression of confidence in the deliverance of Israel in iv. 14. This secular character has on the whole been most prominent in this festival at all times. Like Ḥanukkah, it has never been universally considered a religious holy day, in spite of the fact that it is designated by the term “yom-ṭob” (Esth. ix. 19, 22.). Accordingly business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim, although in certain places restrictions have beenimposed on work (Shulḥan ‘Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 696).

… It seems, therefore, that the observance of Purim was at first merely of a convivial and social nature. Gradually it assumed religious features….

The first religious ceremony ordained for the celebration of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther in the synagogue, a regulation ascribed in the Talmud (Meg. 2a) to the “Men of the Great Synod,” of which Mordecai is reported to have been a member…” 1

From the article Legend of Hanukkah>

… In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed in the article, To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud, he noted that:

In the volume, Josephus, the historian, also contrasts the views of the Pharisees and Sadducees regarding the Oral Law:

“…the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses; and it is for this reason that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, and not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. ” 22.

In defense and support of the Pharisees, Hyam Maccoby adds this tribute to their preservation and multiplying of religious rituals and traditions:

“The Pharisees added new Festivals (Chanukah and Purim) to the Jewish religious year; they added to the canon of Scripture…they added new doctrine to Judaism…they added new rites to the Temple worship…as well as being continual creators of new prayers and ceremonies in the synagogue.” 23.” 2

From the Wisdom of Kabbalah newsletter and their online site kabbalah.info, Purim is discussed in the article The Inner Purim:

“Purim – the holiday of opposites – joy vs. grief, concealment vs. disclosure, Mordechay vs. Haman, genocide vs. redemption…

A Kabbalist is a person who seeks deep inside the causes for the events in his life . It is evident to him that whatever it is he is about to discover, already lies within him, waiting. All he has to learn is how to come in contact with the force that makes things happen. That force will lead and guide him to control the future events of his life, his personal happiness and the bounty that will flow through him to the whole of mankind.

In the eyes of Kabbalah, Megilat Esther tells of the forces that unfold in the innermost parts of man. Forces that tell of what one discovers with one’s relationship with the Creator, the forces that guides the events of everybody’s life. These forces are called Mordechay, Esther, Haman, etc. …
Mordechay, the inner force within a Jew, which wants nothing more than to cling to the Creator and worship Him, lived happily and the kingdom was at peace…

The evil Haman, who represents the egotistical in us, the opposite of the Jew, wants to exploit the situation for self gain. He eventually wants to overthrow the king from his thrown.

He believes that the fact that the Jews are dispersed testifies to their weakness, confusion and lack of faith. Therefore he finds the situation to be a rate opportunity to eliminate the Jews from the face of the earth, as they are the sole force that stands between him and exploiting the Creator. …

What Haman fails to understand, however, is that the Jews are dispersed for a reason. It stems from the fact that the people of Israel has risen to a higher level now.

That higher level means a direct and open contact with the Creator. A bond so open, no one will be able to deny. Indeed we see the truth of it when at the end of the story, all peoples reform. The meaning is that all the desires in man, called Peoples, accept the main force that leads to confidence and happiness, called Israel. ….The Jew in a man is limited. That limitation can only be overcome by the evil Haman. That is why we need to find the Haman within us. ….”3

As we can see, purim has religious and mystical meaning to those practicing Judaism.

The question would be: Why are those who claim to believe the New Testament and Jesus Christ, involving themselves in these things? Eyerub

endnotes:

1 http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.j…3&letter=P
2. http://www.seekgod.ca/legend.htm
3. http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/holidays…_purim.htm

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