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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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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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