What about the Jewish Roots Movement?

WHAT ABOUT THE “JEWISH ROOTS MOVEMENT?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“What can you tell me about the ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement? I have several friends who are being greatly influenced by their teachings.”

Friend, thank you for that question. Prior to this, I was unaware of such a movement. Having now researched it, I will outline this system using two simple points. While much could be written about its other tenets, a discussion and thorough refutation of its two core doctrines should sufficiently answer your question. Adherents of this “Jewish Roots” system (also known as the “Hebrew Roots” system) hold to the following two basic beliefs. While this will get lengthy—the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of study and prayer—please know that this Bible study was abbreviated and simplified as much as possible. Beloved, this is our special-edition Bible Q&A article #225!

JEWISH ROOTS POINT #1. CHRISTIANS SHOULD (RE)LEARN THE “JEWISH ORIGIN” OF CHRISTIANITY TO RESTORE DOCTRINAL INTEGRITY.

Jewish Roots proponents believe that the Christian Church today has largely forgotten its origin in the Bible’s “Old Testament” books (Genesis through Malachi). They argue that Christianity is so doctrinally weak and deceived today due to its complete departure from Old Testament Judaism. Jewish Roots people urge us to return to the unadulterated teachings and writings of Moses and the other Old Testament prophets, that we restore our doctrinal purity so that it matches the original “New Testament” church. They contend that the original “New Testament” church was Judaistic in nature and we Christians today should follow Judaism.

Some Jewish Roots supporters have gone so far as to study the Old Testament Scriptures in the original Hebrew language—rather than an English translation—to obtain an alleged “greater understanding” of God’s Word. They do not believe that the English language communicates God’s Word to the extent of the Bible’s original languages. (Sounds to me like someone’s been listening to unbelieving “scholarship!”)

JEWISH ROOTS POINT #2. CHRISTIANS SHOULD USE THE MOSAIC LAW TO EXPERIENCE DAILY RIGHTEOUS LIVING.

Romans chapter 11 is said to teach that we Gentile Christians have been “grafted into Israel.” (See our study linked at the end of this article.) Consequently, we need to follow Israel’s passages as though they were written to us. The Jewish Roots people claim that, in order for us to have victorious lives in Christ, we must keep the commandments of the Torah (Moses’ five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy). In that system, obedience to the Mosaic Law is how Christians overcome daily sins. They insist that we keep God’s laws to receive His blessings and avoid His curses. They maintain that we must walk by faith in the Law of Moses because the Lord Jesus Christ did so in His earthly ministry. Not surprisingly, Jewish Roots adherents are known for observing kosher food laws (abstinence from pork, for example). They also claim to observe the holy days the LORD through Moses commanded Israel to observe in Leviticus chapter 23—feast days, Sabbath days, and so on. They encourage us (the Body of Christ) to join them in keeping these religious holidays also.

JEWISH ROOTS—AN “AWAKENING” PROMPTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, OR JUST ANOTHER RELIGIOUS SYSTEM FABRICATED BY MAN?

The Jewish Roots Movement is viewed as an “awakening,” supposedly “a move of the Spirit of God to cause people to better understand the Bible.” Consequently, since the mid-1990s, the movement has experienced significant growth. There is no official count because Jewish Roots followers are scattered throughout various churches and ministries. Worldwide, there are perhaps tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of “Jewish Roots” supporters. The movement sounds impressive, but is it worth our support? We aim to answer that question in this Bible study.

Although there is no single leader of the Jewish Roots Movement, an interesting tidbit sheds light on its history. Founded by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892–1986), the now-defunct cult “The Worldwide Church of God” (WCoG) was noted for its observance of Old Testament laws, including the Sabbath day and Israel’s feast days. One “Jewish Roots” author I read openly admitted that his decades-long background in the WCoG was influential in causing him to embrace the “Jewish Roots” paradigm. It is not a surprise, then, that a person from one cult would easily embrace a movement and transform it into a cult. There may in fact be many former WCoG members now coming under the banner of “Jewish Roots” to form their own new denomination.

For the rest of this study, we will look at the two above “Jewish Roots” points and evaluate them according to the Holy Bible rightly divided. The majority of this study will focus on the second point (Law-keeping and Christian living), addressed from several various angles. While this will be some “deep” material at times, it has been prayerfully edited and re-written many times over, that it reads its smoothest and clearest.

REBUTTAL POINT #1A. JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY, THOUGH RELATED, ARE OVERWHELMINGLY DISTINCT

Jewish Roots supporters are correct in saying that Christianity and Judaism are closed connected. We Bible-believing dispensationalists have no disagreement there. The JEHOVAH God who introduced Judaism through Moses’ ministry is the same God who founded Christianity through the Apostle Paul’s ministry. However, in the Jewish Roots Movement, too much emphasis and too much authority is placed on the Old Testament Scriptures. As we progress in our analysis of the system, we will see this thoroughly demonstrated.

While the books of Genesis through Malachi are inspired of God (2 Samuel 23:2; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), and while God has promised to preserve His words forever (Psalm 12:6-7; Psalm 33:11; Psalm 100:5; Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 30:8; Isaiah 40:6-8; cf. Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25), these 39 Bible books have nothing to do with us today. They have nothing to do with what God is doing today. We can and should study the Old Testament (cf. Romans 15:4), but we should not expect to find ourselves or God’s plan for us back there. However, Jewish Roots people believe their identity is found in the Law of Moses. They use the Old Testament Scriptures to interpret the New Testament Scriptures. This is actually a reversal of what God the Holy Spirit intended. The 39 books of the Old Testament were given first, before the 27 books of the New Testament were given. We should use the advanced revelation to understand the earlier revelation. It makes no sense to use old information to interpret new information.

Friend, there is extensive testimony in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, that we (the Church the Body of Christ) were not revealed to the Old Testament prophets. Those prophets of old knew absolutely nothing about our Dispensation of Grace, absolutely nothing about God’s plan to restore the heavenly places to Himself, and absolutely nothing about the agency that He would use in the heavenly places for His glory (the Church the Body of Christ). For Scriptural proof, please see Romans 11:25-29, Romans 16:25-26, 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Ephesians 1:9-12, Ephesians 3:1-11, Colossians 1:24-27, 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17, 1 Timothy 2:3-7, and Titus 1:1-3. (Unfortunately, we do not have time and space to quote and expound upon all these passages. Please read them at your convenience.) When we go back to try to find ourselves in the Old Testament, we are ignoring the dispensational boundaries God has established in His Holy Word. We are contradicting the principle of progressive revelation and making it regressive revelation. Going back in time actually limits the spiritual light and understanding in God’s Word. The Bible was revealed to mankind over a period of 1,600 years or so. Why stress the earliest books of the Bible when you have more recent Scripture written down?!

Jewish Roots adherents—like all denominations in Christendom—fail to follow the divine principle of Bible study delineated in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly divide the word of truth.” Rather than keeping Paul’s epistles separate from the rest of the Bible, they use the Old Testament to interpret (actually, corrupt and diminish) Pauline theology. God never intended us to mix prophecy and mystery. Yet people do it all the time in Christendom without hesitation. We cannot expect to use what God revealed in “time past” to shed light on what He kept secret in “time past” but has revealed in the “but now.” That which God spoke since the world began (Acts 3:21) can in no way be used to explain that which He kept secret since the world began (Romans 16:25). That is to say, the Old Testament Scriptures were never meant to explain Paul’s epistles. Paul’s books describe what the God of the Bible is doing apart from the Old Testament prophecies, apart from Israel’s prophetic program, apart from her earthly kingdom plan. Paul’s epistles were meant to explain why there is a delay in the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, why there is a delay in Israel’s prophetic program, and why there is a delay in her earthly kingdom plan.

The Apostle Peter, in his final epistle, mentioned how people “wrested” the Scriptures “unto their own destruction.” These people mixed up the verses that God had separated, and then they made their spiritual lives a complete mess. They had particularly corrupted Paul’s epistles. This is true of all the groups and denominations in Christendom today—and yes, the Jewish Roots Movement is guilty of this. Note 2 Peter 3:15-16: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Jewish Roots people claim that we Christians are “spiritual Jews,” alleging that we have been grafted into Israel. (See our study at the end of this article.) This is a gross misrepresentation of Romans chapter 11. Friends, the Bible says there is no Israel before God today in our Dispensation of Grace (verses 11,12,15,25,28)! Since Jewish Roots adherents believe we are “spiritual Jews,” they tell us to behave like Jews. Although their assemblies are primarily made of Gentiles, Jewish Roots participants wear Jewish clothing, employ Hebrew names and phrases, and practice “Davidic dancing.” In fact, they dislike the Greek name “Jesus.” They prefer His Hebrew name “Yeshua,” and they use “YHWH” (the Tetragrammaton translated “JEHOVAH/LORD” in our English Bible). They claim we should use the “pure names of God”—Yeshua, YHWH, et cetera. This is a direct denial that God’s Word and name can be pure even in a translated form. Just what good was the gift of tongues if God’s Word and name were tainted in translation (Acts chapter 2, Acts chapter 22, et cetera)?! How could the Holy Spirit guide these men into such error if translation was as bad as the Jewish Roots people claim?!

Dear friends, like most of the professing church today, Jewish Roots people want to be Israel so they follow Israel’s verses and behave and talk like Israel. The truth is that the Jewish Roots adherents are more obvious about what they believe than other denominational systems in Christendom. Regardless, all these denominations blur distinctions between the Church the Body of Christ and the nation Israel. As we noted earlier, the Jewish Roots doctrine is that we have been grafted into Israel because the Torah made provisions for believing Gentiles to come and join Israel (see Exodus 12:48-49; Esther 8:17). Again, this is a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally. God’s dealings with mankind today are vastly different from His will during the days of Exodus and Esther!

Indeed, God promised blessings to Gentiles on the basis of Israel. Genesis 12:1-3 is one of the most classic cases in point. Matthew 25:31-46 is another example. But, let it be repeated once more, there is no national Israel today in the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Friend, read the entire eleventh chapter of the book of Romans. We do not approach God today by becoming a member of Israel or by coming through Israel. We are made “nigh [near unto God] by the blood of Christ… for through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:13,18), not by the nation Israel. Why? Again, there is no Israel today through which we can approach God. Jews in national Israel are said to be “enemies for your [Gentiles’] sakes” (Romans 11:28). In God’s mind, national Israel is blinded and cut off. How can we approach God through an agency that He does not associate with today, a nation that He does not recognize today? It makes no sense. That is one of the primary faults of the Jewish Roots Movement—claiming Israel’s verses and promises as true today when they are not valid today.

REBUTTAL POINT #1B. LEARNING HEBREW, THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, IS UNNECESSARY FOR CHRISTIANS.

Some (if not most) Jewish Roots people encourage us to study the Old Testament books in their original Hebrew language so that we can learn deeper truths “obscured” in English Bible translations. This is complete nonsense. It parallels the Roman Catholic doctrine of, “Come to the priest, that he may interpret the Latin Bible so you can know what God’s Word really says! After all, God has made our ecclesiastical leaders the sole interpreters of His Word.” Beloved, our 1611 King James translators, empowered by the Holy Ghost, were thoroughly equipped to translate the original Bible languages for us. If we cannot teach our theology from the 400-year (standard) English Bible, we had better toss out that theology and quick! If we have to re-translate the Holy Bible to make it say what we want to teach, we had better be ready to give an account to God Almighty Himself for usurping the role of the Holy Ghost! He will demand why you thought you knew better than Him!

The Bible-believing view is that the Holy Bible in any language is still God’s pure Word. (To say otherwise is to closely identify with Mormonism, which says that the Bible is God’s Word “as long as it is correctly translated.”) God instituted human languages in Genesis chapter 11 at the Tower of Babel. Does He not know how to translate properly? I would say that He does. God’s Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles to speak a translated Gospel message in Acts chapter 2. Paul’s Hebrew speech was translated into Greek in Acts chapter 22. God wants His Word translated into all the languages of the world, that all nations of the world be reached with His truths (Zechariah 8:20-23; Matthew 28:19; Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26). Do you agree with God concerning the translation of His Word, or have you adopted the absurd manmade position that language limitations limit God Almighty?

While I am not a Hebrew scholar, and I never plan to be, I have been told that Hebrew is a very difficult language to master as a “second language.” It is more challenging than Greek, the language of the New Testament. Even scholars have difficulty when translating Hebrew. To read and translate a Hebrew Bible is no easy task, and Jewish Roots demands all Christians be equipped to do it?! Absurd ad infinitum! Furthermore, unless the person reading the Bible has the Holy Spirit, the Bible might as well as have been written in Egyptian hieroglyphics largely eroded over time. Beloved, language and translation are not the problems. The problem is a spiritual matter. People need God’s Holy Spirit to understand His Word (1 Corinthians 2:11-16)! No doubt the “difficult” and “mysterious” passages in the Bible are “difficult” and “mysterious” in any language. After all, the Bible is discussing spiritual truths that the unsaved human mind will never, ever, ever comprehend anyway… no matter what the language! The Bible truths that are difficult for Christians to understand, require thoughtful verse comparison and critical thinking, not retranslation. It requires hours of daily study, and most people refuse to study the Bible because they find it “boring.” They would rather sing, dance, clap, and jump in “church.” They would rather some preacher or priest read and “interpret” the Bible for them… if so, they had better hope and pray he/she “interpreted” it correctly!

We will now look at the other primary error of the Jewish Roots Movement. This is the bulk of our discussion.

REBUTTAL POINT #2A. THE LAW SYSTEM BELONGED IN JESUS CHRIST’S EARTHLY LIFE BUT NOT IN OUR CHRISTIAN LIVES

“Jewish Roots” zealots view Jesus Christ’s earthly life and ministry as a pattern for their (and our) life and ministry. If Jesus lived by the Mosaic Law, and He did, then we Christians should do it, too, so they say. They enjoy quoting 1 John 2:4-6 to drive home this point: “[4] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. [6] He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Or, 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” They quote Jesus’ words found in John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

However, there is one glaring problem with their reasoning. They ignore the fact that Jesus Himself said concerning His earthly ministry, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He said in John 4:22, “Salvation is of the Jews.” Jesus was not talking to us Gentiles in the 21st century! Jesus’ life under the Law (Galatians 4:4) was for Israel’s benefit, not for ours. He followed the Law because the Law was what God demanded Israel follow in Exodus and Deuteronomy, among other places. That Covenant of Law was never given to Gentiles (Romans 3:19-20). It was given to Israel. What is God’s Word to us? We follow the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). We do not know Jesus Christ after the flesh, after His earthly ministry: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Jewish Roots followers obey the kosher food laws of Judaism (Leviticus chapter 11; Deuteronomy chapter 14). Why are they so fixated on Law-keeping? They are trying to force Christians to quit living wild, worldly lives. Law-keeping is seen as the answer to the carnality so rampant in the professing church today. One Jewish Roots author suggested that we repent, or stop sinning, in order to be saved! (This sounds no different from the average, “evangelical/Protestant” “salvation invitation” of “Repent of your sins and then repeat the sinner’s prayer after me!”) In Jewish Roots, there is also great emphasis on Sabbath-day keeping and observing Judaism’s other religious days (more on this in Rebuttal Point #2G). Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jewish Roots people avoid “pagan” Christmas and Easter. After all, the Old Testament laws forbid following heathen practices. When Paul tells us not to observe holy days (Galatians 4:9-11 and Colossians 2:16-17), the Jewish Roots people suggest that he is actually forbidding us from embracing pagan customs. In other words, they say Paul was not discouraging us from observing Israel’s feasts as the traditional view holds. They say the Apostle just wanted us to avoid the pagan customs that the Law of Moses forbade. (Again, we will later debunk this, their sly defense, in Rebuttal Point #2G.)

Jewish Roots people say we should keep the Law of Moses in order to be justified before God. They run to Romans 2:13: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Beloved, this is a tremendous distortion of that verse. Paul was not arguing believers needed to keep the Law of Moses to be justified before God. If I say, “Only those who can run and jump a few miles will be able to cross the Grand Canyon,” am I implying that any person can accomplish such a feat? No, I am saying that no one can reach the bare minimum needed to jump across the Grand Canyon. God was not saying our way to salvation was Law-keeping. He was saying that our way to hellfire was Law-breaking. In the context, Paul is discussing soul salvation from sins (chapters 1-5), not daily living of believers (chapters 6-8). Paul was saying in Romans 2:13 that we could not keep the Law; therefore, the Law was not the way to eternal salvation! The Law was the way to eternal damnation! He was arguing that people trying to establish their own righteousness would not be justified before God, because they could not keep the Law. It did not matter who heard the law, but rather people who obeyed the Law of Moses. Israel heard the Law but they did not do the Law. They were sinners, just like the Gentiles they condemned as “sinners.”

Everyone heard the Law but no one had the ability to keep it, thus necessitating Jesus Christ’s coming to usher in a better system (the theme of the book of Hebrews). That Mosaic Law system was finally done away with once God proved that such a system was disadvantageous to the sinner (later discussed in Rebuttal Point #2E). If we are justified by faith in Christ, that is our position. Now, we simply have to walk by faith in that identity so it becomes practice (victorious Christian living). Let us explain the faulty nature of the “Jewish Roots” system and the Mosaic Law system, and how the Grace system is ever so much better.

REBUTTAL POINT #2B. THE LAW SYSTEM DESTROYS THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CURRENT MINISTRY

Interestingly, before the deputy of Achaia, the Jews accused Paul the Apostle as one who “persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law” (Acts 18:13). The Jewish Roots people have a hard time with this verse, but it is possible to worship God contrary to the Law of Moses. Certainly, Paul, the Jewish rabbinical scholar that he was, believed we could worship God without following Moses’ writings. (Horrors!) Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, tell us that we can worship Father God today according to the system of Grace. We do not need the former system of worship (Law) when the current one is so much more advantageous (Grace)!

The “Jewish Roots” Movement is a reversion to a system that God has since ended. Galatians 5:18 settles the matter once and for all: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Jewish Roots people gloss over this verse for obvious reasons.) This verse and its context are talking about Christian living. The Spirit of God never, ever, EVER leads anyone to strive under a performance-based acceptance system in this the Dispensation of Grace. Period. If we have to labor to get God’s blessings, then that it is legalism. Jewish Roots is legalism. If we have to do good works in order to avoid God’s curses, then that is legalism. Jewish Roots is legalism. Legalism is Law-keeping, Jewish Roots is legalism, and it is not what God would have us to do today. God’s grace teaches us how to live. We do not need the Mosaic Law. If someone says we need the Law of Moses to govern our lives, they have automatically denied and pushed aside God’s Spirit and His grace. How serious! (And this “Jewish Roots” system is supposedly being used by “God” to “awaken” people to the truth? What duplicity! What a scam! What a sham! What error!)

Titus 2:11-14 delineates the basis of our Christian living: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” If God’s grace alone can “redeem” us and “purify” us that we may be a “peculiar people zealous of good works,” then what is the purpose of the Mosaic Law for Christians? Friend, that is just it. The Law is not necessary for Christians! It is a Satanic attempt to sidetrack today’s believer!

When the Apostle Paul speaks against the Law of Moses, the Holy Spirit says exactly what He means and He means exactly what He says. God has a new operating system today and it is not the Mosaic Law. It is so easy to understand that Paul writes that we are under grace not law. Paul did not tell us to observe God’s laws rather than “pagan Israel’s laws.” In Galatians 5:18, Paul said we are under no law system at all. Unlike the Jewish Roots people, the Holy Spirit through Paul did not distinguish between pagan laws in Israel and God’s pure laws in Judaism. God is not operating any law system at all. Period. Romans 6:14-15 says: “[14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (We will look more fully at this in Rebuttal Point #2D.)

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.” If the Holy Spirit works today apart from the Mosaic Law (and He does, according to Galatians 5:18), and a Christian operates under the demands of the Mosaic Law (as the Jewish Roots Movement encourages), then that Christian is hindering the Holy Spirit from working in his or her life! It is most serious, dear readers, that we not be deceived by this system of Jewish Roots. Avoid it like a plague, friend, avoid it like a plague!

REBUTTAL POINT #2C. THE LAW SYSTEM IS PERFORMING TO RECEIVE GOD’S BLESSINGS AND AVOID HIS CURSES

One of the most damnable beliefs of the “Jewish Roots” Movement is that we must perform to gain and maintain God’s blessings. We have to live right to receive blessings and avoid curses. It is believed that the United States of America is currently under God’s curse today because it has broken the Ten Commandments. In the Jewish Roots Movement, “good works,” “enduring temptation,” and “overcoming” are necessary to receive God’s blessings. Friends, that is straight out of the Mosaic Law system. Defenders of the Jewish Roots Movement contend that just as we have to obey manmade laws, we have to observe Father God’s laws. If we have no problem with obeying all of our nation’s thousands of laws, they say that we should not be so resistant to keeping God’s laws, that we should not call it “legalism” or “salvation by works.” Rubbish! Silliness! Absurdity! Double-talk! Deception!

While it is a clever defense, the above “Jewish Roots rebuttal” is nothing more than “wisdom of words” meant to deceive (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Romans 16:17-18). How Father God deals with us and how a manmade government deals with us are two incomparable systems. If God dealt with me on the basis of my works, I would not have a chance. The same is true of you. God’s laws are much stricter—to break them is not to pay a fine or go to prison for life (as with a human government), but to go to hell forever! Why does a government develop and pass laws? It does so to keep order in society. Why did God give the Mosaic Law? To show Israel—and all the world—we sons and daughters of Adam could not measure up to God’s glory and righteousness. Again, there is a big difference between manmade laws and God’s laws. Obeying the laws of the land is compulsory. Do it or face a harsh penalty. A Christian is not commanded of God to “do good works or else.” Beloved, we are free to follow God and we are free to reject Him. That is grace! That is not compulsory! In gratitude to Him for what He did for us, we should be so willing to delight in doing what He wants accomplished. If we have that attitude, we do not need to have Him motivate with threats of curses.

In all fairness, all “Christian” circles today claim that we need to follow the Mosaic Law (to varying degrees). The Jewish Roots adherents appear to be most obvious extremists. Should we Christians obey and follow the Mosaic Law to get God’s blessings? Well, let us study the Bible to answer that question. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). What God has to say us is in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us. In time past, God dealt with Israel using the Mosaic Law. If a Jew wanted to know God’s will, he/she had to go to the Law of Moses (Romans 2:17-20). But again, God sent Moses to Israel, not to us Gentiles. Whom did God send to us? The Bible says it was Paul. What does God tell us about keeping the Mosaic Law today? What is God’s will for us? Let us see what else God has to say to us through Paul.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “And ye are complete in him [Christ Jesus]” (Colossians 2:10a). “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). God has made us “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). We have complete and total fellowship with Father God, the same fellowship His Son Jesus Christ has with Him (1 Corinthians 1:9). And, it is because of God’s faithfulness not our faithfulness! That is why we can never lose it. God is always faithful, friend, which is more than what we can say about ourselves!

Everything we need, we already received it in Christ. There is not one blessing, not one blessing, NOT ONE BLESSING, we have not already been given upfront in our Lord Jesus Christ. Father God has nothing left to give us! Why do we have to strive to keep the Law and get God’s blessings when we already received God’s blessings in Christ without us keeping the Law? “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). We were made righteous by Christ’s obedience at Calvary (cf. Philippians 2:8). It was Jesus Christ’s obedience that saved us and blessed us, and it is Jesus Christ’s obedience that keeps us saved and keeps us blessed. Dear friends, unless we have a denominational system to advance, it is quite easy to understand. God does not give us blessings just to revoke them. He never gave us those blessings due to our obedience anyway!

REBUTTAL POINT #2D. THE LAW SYSTEM IS “THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH” AND “THE MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION”

Jewish Roots adherents ignore 2 Corinthians chapter 3 for obvious reasons. We do not serve in the oldness of the letter but in the newness of spirit (the Spirit of God, verse 17). This is clearly a contrast between the Law of Moses in “time past” and the ministry of the Holy Spirit today in the “but now.” A system of works does not give life but rather it kills. Dear friend, what the Holy Spirit does (grace) is what gives life!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians chapter 3: “[6] Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [7] But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: [8] How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? [9] For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.”

Romans 6:14-15 says: “[14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Why are we under grace and not law? Because the Bible says the Law gives sin dominion over us! God took away the Law system that was disadvantageous to us and He replaced it with something that benefited us—grace, everything He could do for us through Calvary’s finished crosswork because we are unable to do anything for Him. Law does not belong in our Christian lives. In 1 Corinthians 15:56, we read “the strength of sin is the law.” Do you want sin to be strong in your life? Again, the Bible says to place yourself under the Law system. Romans 3:20 says “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law does nothing but condemn you, whether you are saved or you are lost.

By the way, it does not matter whether it is the Law of Moses, your laws, your church’s laws, your parents’ laws, your spouse’s laws, et cetera, all “law systems” operate the same! No matter what type of performance-based acceptance system it is, you as a sinner are doomed to fail. Again, that is why God replaced that weak and beggarly system with the grace system described in Paul’s epistles! The “ministration of death” and the “ministration of condemnation” is the antithesis—the opposite of—grace. If you want righteousness (godliness) to reign in your life, stay with grace. If you want sin and guilt to run your life, and ruin your life, follow the Law system. It really, really is that simple, friends. Make your choice… and be ready to live with the consequences, good or bad!

One of the most important portions of the book of Romans is its seventh chapter. Jewish Roots supporters also gloss over these Bible passages because of their implications. In it, Paul speaks very negatively of the Law of Moses. The Apostle begins the chapter by affirming we are “dead to the law by the body of Christ” (verse 4). Note verse 5: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” In our old identity, in Adam, when we were sinners, before we came to faith in Jesus Christ, “the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” The Law is what gave sin strength in our lives as lost people. The Law pointed out our failures. It did nothing to help us reform for it could do nothing to help us correct our sins. It simply accentuated, or highlighted, everything we did wrong. Verse 6 says, “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

And continuing on in the chapter, Romans 7: “[7] What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [8] But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. [9] For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. [10] And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. [11] For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. [12] Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. [13] Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”

Could the Bible be any plainer? We are not under the demands of the Mosaic Law. This is not a matter of opinion. Look and how the Law of Moses “helped” Paul in the above situation. It “helped” him to become a miserable wretch, so defeated and despondent. He concluded the chapter, “[24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [25] I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Paul’s Christian life was in ruins; the Mosaic Law had killed his victorious Christian life. Read all of chapter 7 of Romans and you can see that clearly. Commandment-keeping did not help the Apostle Paul in his Christian life. Are we not silly to think the Law will make our Christian life successful and enjoyable? Are we any less sinners than Paul was?

We know that Paul is talking about the Mosaic Law in Romans chapter 7 because he mentions coveting, the last of the 10 Commandments. It has nothing to do with Paul speaking against Christians observing pagan religious rules. It has everything to do with Paul speaking against Christians observing the Law of Moses. The answer to experiencing Christian living is not the Law of Moses but the principle of “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). All of Romans chapter 8 is the answer to the misery of chapter 7. The Spirit of God will work in us when we believe His words to us, Romans through Philemon. We are not performing to receive God’s blessings (Jewish Roots and legalism). Father God is working in and through us because He has already given us all of His blessings. One of these spiritual blessings is victory over sin on a daily basis. This is accomplished by Jesus Christ’s finish crosswork, not by our commandment keeping.

REBUTTAL POINT #2E. THE LAW SYSTEM IS NOT FOR SAINTS BUT FOR SINNERS

Let us now read what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Like those false teachers in Ephesus whom the Holy Spirit through Paul condemned, the Jewish Roots adherents and teachers do not know what they are saying or what they are really causing people to do. They are binding people using a religious system that ended in complete failure. Like all denominations, they are using God’s Word—the Mosaic Law—to destroy the lives of Christians. The Law of Moses never saved Israel, it never helped Israel, and it never gave Israel a right standing before God. That is why God will make with Israel a New Covenant, to give them the spiritual blessings they could never gain under the Old Covenant of Law (see Hebrews chapters 8-10).

As 1 Timothy chapter 1 said above, all that the Law could do was condemn people as “lawless, disobedient, ungodly, sinners, unholy, profane, murderers of fathers and mothers, manslayers, whoremongers, them that defile themselves with mankind [homosexuals], menstealers, liars, perjured persons,” et cetera. How do we use the Law of Moses “lawfully?” Galatians 3:24 says of Israel, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The only purpose of the Law is to show us that we need a Saviour—not a bunch of rules and regulations—to deal with our sin problem. It teaches Israel that they need a Saviour rather than another performance-based acceptance system. To use the Law system for righteous people is to use the Law wrongfully. Christians are righteous in Christ, so what does it mean if a system force the Law on the Christian? (The Law of Moses is being used wrongfully!)

Jewish Roots adherents tell us to use the Law of Moses as a means for daily Christian living, yet the Bible tells us repeatedly that the Law is not made for righteous man. The Law of Moses is for an ungodly man. Are Christians “godly” or are they “ungodly?” Are they “righteous” or “unrighteous?” If they are godly and righteous, and they are in Christ (Romans 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; et cetera), then they have no need for the Law. Again, the Law shows us that we need Christ; the Law is not meant to make us acceptable before God, either positionally or practically. The Law is there to show us we do not merit God’s favor with our performance. Law-keeping does not stress God’s performance on our behalf but rather our performance to try and please Him.

Once more, Jewish Roots adherents demand that people obey the Mosaic Law in the Dispensation of Grace. In 1 Timothy 1:6, the Holy Spirit calls this “vain jangling,” empty chatter, worthless talk, just a bunch of noise. There is no substance and no soundness in what Jewish Roots people preach and teach… or any other legalistic preacher or teacher, for that matter. It is all the sadder when we remember that such people are deceived because they have not used the Bible properly and they are deceiving others because they do not use the Bible properly themselves. They damn souls using the Bible, the very text that should have been able to clear up the confusion and bring salvation. How awful! I would hate to be in these people’s shoes when they stand before God one day! They will have to confess to Him what they did using His Word all the while claiming “Jesus Christ” was being honored in their deeds!

Frankly, the Jewish Roots Movement advocates (childish) legalism. A child has to be led by the hand, instructed regarding every little detail—what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do, how to do it, et cetera. We read from the Bible’s famous New Covenant passage, Jeremiah chapter 31: “[31] 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. God’s own summary of the Mosaic Law is that it is to “take [Israel] by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.”

As an adult would lead a child, so JEHOVAH God led Israel out of Egypt. By calling us back to Mosaic-Law observance, Jewish Roots people are making us return to an immature spiritual lifestyle. As the book of Galatians (4:1-10) and the book of Ephesians (4:11-16) say, we are full-grown adult sons of God. We are to be mature because a completed, written Word of God to lead us, and we should know enough about what it says, in order to make our own decisions in life. What does 2 Timothy 3:16-17 say? “[16] 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.” The word “perfect” does not mean sinless, it means mature. God does not want spiritual children for Christians; He wants spiritual adults! Go read Hebrews 5:10-14, God’s rebuke of ignorant and immature Israel.

Galatians chapter 3 says in verse 10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Whenever we do not continue in everythingyes, EVERYTHING—the Law demands, we are cursed. James 2:10 amplifies it: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Friend, do you still want to place yourself under that system? The law works wrath, Romans 4:15 says. Does God’s wrath belong in the Christian’s life? Then, it only stands to reason, neither does the Law! And neither does Jewish Roots!

We read again in verses 23-25 of Galatians chapter 3: “[23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us [Israel] unto Christ.” Now that we have found Jesus Christ, there is no further purpose of the Mosaic Law. The Law has taught us (Jew and Gentile) that we all need Jesus Christ. The Mosaic Law is now irrelevant, replaced by something far better. The grace system!

Here is yet another major inconsistency within the Jewish Roots Movement. While they constantly claim they are observing JEHOVAH’S feasts according to the Law of Moses, a close inspection reveals that they are not doing what they allege. They are no more honest with Moses’ writings than they are with Paul’s epistles. Moses said that Israel’s three main feasts were to be observed in Jerusalem at the Temple (Deuteronomy 16:16). The fact is that most Jewish Roots adherents do not live in the land of Israel, or anywhere near Jerusalem. They do not go to Jerusalem three times a year for Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. And yet Moses said Israel’s men were to do just that! If the Jewish Roots people are “spiritual Jews,” should they not be doing what Moses told Jews today? Duplicity could not be more obvious, friends! Israel’s Temple has been destroyed since A.D. 70, so no one—not even Jews in Jerusalem—can properly observe the feasts of Judaism.

REBUTTAL POINT #2F. THE LAW SYSTEM IS “WEAK AND BEGGARLY,” NOW REPLACED BY THE GRACE SYSTEM

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). We are not bound to keep the Mosaic Law in this the Dispensation of Grace. At this point, the following objection will undoubtedly be raised, “If the Bible says we are free from the Law of Moses, does that mean we now have license to go out and sin all we want?” The next verse tells us: “God forbid [May God protest it and never let it happen!].” “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:15). To say that we can sin all we want because we are under grace is a complete failure to fully grasp what the passage (and grace) teaches (more on this later). To say that the Law helps control sin, is to miss Romans 6:14 entirely. The way you have sin rule your life is to place yourself under the Law. Again, we need to remind ourselves that the Law works wrath (Romans 4:15)!

Notice Galatians 4:9-11: “[9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? [10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” And Galatians 5:1,13: “[1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage…. [13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

The Christians in Galatia were being pummeled with false teaching. After Paul left Galatia, some false teaching went into the local assemblies there and taught them that they had to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-5). Paul’s response was simple (we quoted it in the previous paragraph). He instructed these deceived believers: “Galatia, do not return to ‘bondage’/the Mosaic Law, either for salvation or for Christian good works.” The Apostle urged them not to be “bewitched”/tricked into working for their salvation, or using the Law system in their Christian lives to enhance their salvation.

See also Galatians 3:1-5: “[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? [4] Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. [5] He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” The Bible says “Law-keeping” today is “foolish!” Thus, Jewish Roots is equally “foolish!”

Again, we know Galatians is not merely a forbiddance against pagan practices and false religion, but the pure Law of Moses with its physical circumcision (Galatians 2:21; Galatians 3:17-25; Galatians 4:4; Galatians 5:2-3; Galatians 5:13-14). “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter [the Law]” (Romans 7:6). This is spoken against the Mosaic Law, not pagan practices as the Jewish Roots people claim.

Romans 10:1-4 testifies: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. [4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

Why did Paul want Israel to be saved in the above passage? It was because the unbelieving Jews were—like so many billions of people today—using the Mosaic Law to try to please God. They were attempting to prove their own righteousness by performing in religion. These lost Jews were encouraging Paul’s converts in Galatia to do the same. None of them had learned the truth of Romans 3:19-20, that God gave the Law to condemn all Jews and all Gentiles as sinners: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law only pointed out their failures, our failures, as sons and daughters of Adam. Simple! SIMPLE!

Galatians chapter 3 affirms once more: “[19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. [21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. [22] But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. [23] But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. [25] But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Why was the Law added? Was it to highlight Israel’s goodness? Was it to show Israel just how obedient they really were to Almighty God? On the contrary, the book of Galatians says that the Law “was added because of transgressions.” Could the Bible be any clearer, beloved? The Mosaic Law was not given to give anyone a right standing before God. Period. Romans 5:20 sustains this argument: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” That sin would appear for what it really is, God gave the Law of Moses. As Galatians 3:24 says above that the Law was Israel’s “schoolmaster” to “bring [Israel] unto Christ.” But, oh, grace is so much better… where sin abounded, grace could (and did) cover it! Praise God for Romans 5:20!!!!!!!!!

Why are we not under the Law of Moses today? God has done away with Israel’s works-religion system (Judaism). It failed because the Jews were sinners. We are all sinners, Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:9). The Jews could not live up to the Mosaic Law (Acts 15:10), and we certainly cannot live up to those standards today either. If Israel wanted to be blessed of God and be on God’s “good side,” they had to obey Him (keep the Law). Otherwise, they would receive God’s curse. Those were the conditions of the Old Covenant/Mosaic Law (see Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28). The Law, in God’s eyes, is “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9). It is “weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). We cannot keep the Law, and God does not expect us to because He has already used the Law to prove us as sinners (Romans 3:19-20). So, if not by the Law of Moses, how are our Christian lives governed today?

As we saw earlier, Titus 2:11-12 explains: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” And verse 14, “[Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, God’s grace has saved you from sin. Now, you are a saint of the Most High God. God’s grace and your new identity in Christ give you the capacity to say, “My former, lost lifestyle is not me anymore. My life needs to reflect the life of a saint, not a sinner.” As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” God’s grace teaches us to put away sin as Jesus Christ put away sin when He died and was buried (Hebrews 9:26). Why do we need the Law of Moses to teach us how to live, when God’s grace teaches us how to live? Why do we need the Law of Moses (which cannot produce righteousness), when we have God’s grace (which can and does produce righteousness)? See, dear friends, Satan is causing us to leave what is valuable and embrace something worthless! To go back to the Law is to ignore Grace! Period.

As we study and believe God’s Word dispensationally—understanding that God’s Word to us is Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—God the Holy Spirit will use that sound doctrine to work in us, and He will fulfill the demands of the Law, and God performing in us will bring about a change in our behavior. As 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, “…the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” And, again, Galatians 5:18 says, “But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The basis of our Christian life is not us fulfilling the demands of the Mosaic Law. It is allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to accomplish His will in and through us. God Himself will work in us to fulfill the righteousness that the Law demanded Israel produce on her own. (Not because God thought Israel could do it, but to prove to Israel she could not do it!)

The way to sabotage your Christian life is to place yourself under Israel’s performance-based acceptance system like Galatia was doing—performing to get God’s blessings and to avoid His curses. Paul struggled with keeping the Law as a Christian in Romans chapter 7, and he concluded the chapter in defeat. Again, I would encourage you to read Romans 8:1-15, which describes the Christian allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to fulfill the demands of the Law in him/her, instead of the Christian forced to fulfill the demands of the Law in his/her own strength (like with Israel). There is nothing about keeping the Law in chapter 8 of Romans, and yet, that chapter talks all about how to have victorious living in Jesus Christ! You cannot just be “Scriptural.” You must also be “dispensational.” Yes, Law-keeping is in the Bible, and it was practiced at one time, but it is not true today. That is what right division is all about. Return to 1 Timothy chapter 1 and see how using the Law of Moses—the Scriptures—was detrimental/harmful to Christians in Ephesus.

Some Jewish Roots people claim, “Keeping the Torah brings blessings—not salvation.” Our Apostle Paul never said such a thing, either. We are already blessed in Christ, forever and ever. We lack nothing in Christ. We do not need to work to be saved or to be blessed. God already gave us everything in Christ! God has already “accepted you in the beloved [Christ Jesus],” regardless of your performance (Ephesians 1:6). He has already “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3), and we did not work to get them—Christ worked for them. Our performance is not the issue—Christ’s performance in us is the issue! Notice Galatians 2:19-20: “[19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. [20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The Christian life is not us living for Christ, but Christ living in us! “Christ liveth in me.” (The Law system was Israel’s performance to live for God, but the Grace system is God working in and through us to fulfill the Law.)

Notice again how God’s grace transforms our lives (without the Law). Romans 12:1-2 explains: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” How do we get the “renewed mind?” Study God’s Word dispensationally, and, by faith in that sound doctrine, we let the Holy Spirit use that sound doctrine to work in us for God’s glory (see Ephesians 4:17-32)!

Romans chapter 5, verses 20 and 21: “[20] Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: [21] That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once more, the law system makes offences abound. The Law only exposes failure. It does not grant righteousness or bestow blessings. We can study Israel’s 1500-year-long stint operating under the Law of Moses. Look at what a disaster it turned out to be. Read Genesis through Malachi. God let them see just how wretched they were all along but they were in denial of it! As you can see, grace is advantageous to sinners. Sin reigned as a king to produce functional death in our lives. Our behavior as lost people got us nowhere before God. Now, grace can reign in our Christian lives to produce eternal life in our daily lives. We can now display “the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11). Now, not by us keeping the Law but by Jesus Christ operating in and through us according to grace!

REBUTTAL POINT #2G. WAS PAUL MERELY AGAINST PAGAN PRACTICES, OR WAS HE ALSO AGAINST THE PURE LAW OF MOSES?

Jewish Roots defenders have a very clever way of getting around Paul’s “anti-Law” passages. They argue that the Apostle Paul was not against the Law of Moses, the traditional interpretation of Paul’s epistles, but rather the Apostle was actually opposed to Christians observing the pagan laws that Israel used to pollute the pure Law of Moses. We want to answer this now.

Let us turn to Acts chapter 15, noting verses 1 and 5: “[1] And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. [5] But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Is there any doubt as to the context, good friends? It is the Law of Moses, and physical circumcision according to Moses. There is no pagan religion here. This is the pure, unadulterated Law of Moses. Members of the Church at Jerusalem (elders and apostles) were filled with the Holy Spirit, so they were observing the pure Law of Moses. Jesus (like James and 1 John) told the Little Flock to keep the Law of Moses. Jesus said that if the members of the Messianic Church did not keep the commandments of the Mosaic Law and teach others to do the same, they would be “least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20; cf. Matthew 28:19-20). Even as late as Acts 21:20, there were believing Jews in Israel’s Little Flock who were “all zealous of the law.”

The famous Jerusalem Council of A.D. 50 settled the matter once and for all as to whether or not Gentiles in Paul’s ministry should keep the Law of Moses as Israel’s Little Flock were doing. Peter in verse 10 of Acts chapter 15 says that the legalizers in Jerusalem were “tempting God” by forcing Paul’s Gentile converts to observe the demands of the Law of Moses. That does not sound like a good thing, does it? Yet, Jewish Roots proponents are “tempting” God even today, forcing Paul’s Gentile converts back under the Law of Moses! (Satan never quits, beloved, even 2,000 years later!) And, once more, is there any question about pagan practices being observed? No, it is talking about the Law of Moses.

Again, when Peter said the other believing Jews were “tempting the Lord” in putting a “yoke on the disciples’ neck,” we know he was referring to the Law of Moses. Remember, verses 1 and 5 already set the context! It was not a matter of observing pagan practices and believing pagan ideas, but whether or not Paul’s converts should keep the Law of Moses, the pure Law of Moses. What was the conclusion? Paul’s Gentiles converts were not under the Law of Moses. Period. Read Acts 15:19-35. Paul made reference to this Jerusalem Council in Galatians chapter 2, illustrating to the Galatians they were wrong in observing the Mosaic Law. The Galatians were under Paul’s ministry, the Mosaic Law did not belong in Paul’s ministry, and the Mosaic Law did not belong in the Galatians’ lives!

In stark contrast to the Jewish Roots doctrine, Colossians 2:16-17 says that we have no obligation to observe any feasts of Israel. We are not under the Sabbath day rule, the holydays, new moons, et cetera. Colossians 2:16-17 could not be clearer: “[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.”

As noted earlier, the Jewish Roots supporter will immediately rebut by saying that Paul was not against observing the “Feasts of JEHOVAH” (Leviticus 23), but rather was just telling the Colossians not to participate in pagan feast days and holidays in false religions. This is a very slick defense, but again it does not work. Are pagan feasts prophetic? Are they “a shadow of things to come?” Of course not! However, those Feasts of JEHOVAH were prophetic, for they prophesied various historical events in Israel’s history and future (Christ’s death at Passover, His burial for Unleavened Bread, His resurrection at Firstfruits, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day Pentecost, re-gathering of Israel for Trumpets, Christ’s Second Coming to make atonement for Israel’s sins, and the establishment of His earthly kingdom with Tabernacles). Did pagans observe the “Feasts of JEHOVAH” noted in Leviticus chapter 23? No. Then, Paul in Colossians chapter 2 was indeed referring to the Feasts of JEHOVAH as delineated in Moses’ writings. Paul said we are not obligated to participate in them. Those feasts involved God’s plans for Israel—and let us say it again, until you see it in your sleep—we are not Israel!

Did pagans observe the Sabbath Days? Of course not! Who was given the Sabbath Day commandment? Israel (Exodus 20:8-11)! Yet, Paul mentioned the Sabbath Days in Colossians 2:16 by name and he forbade such activities amongst the Gentiles in his ministry. Obviously, Paul is not referring to pagans and pagan activities. He is referring to the Mosaic Law feast days and calendar! Colosse was to avoid all types of religion—pagan and Moses! Religion is the antithesis of grace. Works is the enemy of grace. Get it! Get it! Get it!

REBUTTAL POINT #2H. COLOSSIANS 2:6-7—THE “DEATH BLOW” OF THE “JEWISH ROOTS” MOVEMENT

After all this, we still have a little more to say before we conclude. Colossians 2:6-7 is the final nail on the coffin lid of the Jewish Roots Movement. While Jewish Roots proponents say they are not teaching “salvation by works,” they in fact are. Let consider Colossians 2:6-7: “[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we “receive Christ Jesus Christ the Lord?” Was it by works (law) or by faith (grace)? As Paul asked in Galatians 3:2-3, “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

We received Jesus Christ by faith, Colossians 2:5 says. Our salvation, our Christian life, started on the basis of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. It had nothing to do with our performance. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Colossians 2:6 says that our Christian life will operate on a daily basis in the same manner as it started. How is? Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, His victory over sin in resurrection life, not our legalistic performance to put away sin in our own strength! (If the Jewish Roots people are correct in saying our Christian lives operate on the basis of works/Law, then Colossians 2:6 forces them to say that they believe we are initially saved by works!)

CONCLUSION

While this Bible study was in the early stages of development, the following brief correspondence was sent to me via email by one of our online friends: “As one who used to keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days, Passover, Unleavened Bread etc, dietary laws etc etc I can tell you the Jewish Roots movement is a CULT! Thankful for the Grace of God and my salvation through faith in Christ alone. PTL.”

I would strongly agree with the sender above that the Jewish Roots Movement is cultic. Why? As you saw beyond the shadow of a doubt, that movement is designed to draw away Christians from their identity in Christ, from sound Bible doctrine that is applicable to them, and have them focus on something else. Christians in religion are so busy concentrating on their performance in religion, they very little time, if any, to think about what Jesus Christ did for them at Calvary’s cross! They are so busy worrying about what the “church” wants done that they do not know what God wants done!

In light of the above comments and verses, it would be best to avoid the Jewish Roots Movement. It is a dangerous system that promotes Bible ignorance and deception. In my own opinion, it is one of the most convoluted “Christian” religious systems I have studied. While we cannot read the hearts of its adherents and proponents, we can read and understand that their teaching is overwhelmingly false. True, they quote some verses properly, but they persistently attack the New Testament Scriptures and especially Paul’s epistles. They confuse the Body of Christ with the nation Israel, they mix law and grace, and so on. We sincerely doubt the legitimacy and godliness of the Jewish Roots Movement.

There are pros and cons to the way of approaching Scripture from the Jewish Roots mindset. Yes, by examining the issue it further accentuates how the God of the Bible transitioned from Judaism to Christianity. Jewish Roots is an attempt to curb or eliminate the worldliness in the lives of professing Christians today. There are some good intentions. However, the reality is that there is very little truth in the Jewish Roots Movement. It is not worth pursuing beyond its two foundational principles.

Those who are not skilled in the word of righteousness have a hard time differentiating and rightly dividing the word of truth. The Jewish Roots system, despite good intentions (?), just further compounds the confusion that already abounds in the minds of the “worldly” Christians it condemns. Through this research, we have come to understand that the “Jewish Roots” Movement has done (and does) more harm than good in the minds of the people it has reached. Again, it confuses the Body of Christ with the nation Israel. It confuses God’s program for the earth with God’s program for the heaven. It confuses law and grace. In no way does the Jewish Roots Movement glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. It ignores His heavenly ministry through the Apostle Paul. For that reason, Jewish Roots Movement is not of the God of the Bible. Jewish Roots is worth neither our time nor our trust.

Also see:
» Have we replaced Israel?
» We are saved by faith but are we blessed by works?
» Have we been “grafted into Israel?”

4 responses to “What about the Jewish Roots Movement?

  1. Pingback: Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #14 | 333 Words of Grace

  2. Grace Receiver

    Excellent article.
    Yes, the Hebrew Roots Movement is yet another example of what can happen when we don’t rightly divide the Scriptures.

  3. Pingback: What are “phylacteries?” | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  4. Pingback: Did King David engage in vulgar dancing? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

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