Why UK Christian supporters of Israel should know about John Hagee & CUFI’s recent statement

More on John Hagee.

cufi falseSeems like he didn’t really communicate his point well, so a clip from a video by Hagee’s CUFI ministry caused great concern to many Christians, and gave a false idea of Christian Zionism is about to some people.

So I don’t think hes intentionally denied Christ.  But I don’t think his style of teaching is really my cup of tea either.   I want to apologise for not researching this better before from what I wrote a few weeks ago.

I saw this posted the other day (can’t actually find this statement on CUFI’s web site)

“A Special Message from Pastor John Hagee Regarding His Book In Defense of Israel

Dear Friend:

I am writing to share with you some important news pertaining to my latest book In Defense of Israel. It has come to my attention that my choice of language and some of the interpretation being given that language in Chapter Ten has caused some confusion and actually led some readers to question whether I believe that Jesus is the Messiah. If people are reaching such a conclusion, then I have clearly failed to communicate my views as well as I should have.

I have decided to release a new edition of In Defense of Israel with an expanded Chapter Ten. The new version will make the same point as the prior one, but using language which cannot mislead anyone about my bedrock belief that Jesus was and is Lord, Savior and Messiah.

I was surprised to learn that some people were interpreting my words as a rejection of this most fundamental Christian belief that Jesus came to earth as the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures. I have been preaching the gospel for half a century. Almost every Sunday for the past 50 years, I have stood in front of Christian audiences to clearly proclaim the glory of our Lord, Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ. For the past 30 years, these weekly sermons have been beamed to millions around the world on Christian television.

Given my long years of preaching the gospel to so many, it simply never occurred to me that anyone would question my belief in the fundamentals of the faith. I chose to use challenging language that I hoped would confront the body of Christ to consider events from the Jewish and historical perspective and therefore develop greater empathy for our Jewish friends.

Over the centuries, Christians have been quick to condemn the Jews for failing to recognize Jesus as Messiah. This approach led to replacement theology and the viewpoint of some that God has rejected and broken covenant with the Jewish people. These ideas, in turn, opened the door to a vicious Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Crusades, the Inquisition and countless pogroms.

I tried to challenge this view by highlighting a distinction that has been long recognized in Christian theology between the role Jesus played in His first coming, and the role He will play in his second coming. Jesus came the first time as the suffering Messiah, as exemplified by His persecution, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus will come back as the reigning Messiah, who will rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We Christians believe that the suffering Messiah was clearly foreshadowed in the writings of the Hebrew prophets. However, most Jews have never read the prophets in this way. The Jews were expecting the reigning Messiah. I know this, you know this, and our omniscient and omnipotent Savior knows this.

God could have sent His Son to earth as the reigning Messiah the Jews were expecting. Instead He chose to send Him as the suffering Messiah, who submitted to the Cross, and I thank Him every day that He did. But I also regret daily that this divine move has led so many of the fallen humans it saved to denigrate and persecute the Jewish people from whom our Lord sprang.

In the expanded Chapter Ten, I will make the same point with language that does not hide my own perspective on the matter. The primary change will involve how I use the word “Messiah.” In the expanded version, I will clarify the clear distinction between the “Suffering Messiah,” the Lamb of God and the “Reigning Messiah,” the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!
I am deeply grieved for any confusion my writing may have caused the body of Christ. It was never intended. I trust this letter and the expanded edition of In Defense of Israel will clarify what I believe. I also hope that we can return our focus to what I had anticipated to highlight all along, the fact that we Christians must shift from condemning the Jews for what they missed to thanking them for what they gave.

Blessings to you and those you love,
Pastor John Hagee”

source: http://tinyurl.com/opyyyrf

Let me explain to anyone not familiar with how Christian ministries work in Israel.   There are TWO main type of ministries.

A. Ministries that share the gospel and evangelism to a Jewish or Arab audience, or both.   Thing is this is highly unpopular both secular and religious Jews, and often they won’t want anything to do with those who actively proselytize.

B. Ministries that don’t share the gospel but look at doing social and political support.    This means they can work with the army, government and local communities, as well as the general public and show that Christians around the world are thinking and praying for them.

Both of these needed, groups like B. can be misconstrued by Christians as Jewish people not needing Jesus, which isn’t correct.  Groups like B. can still be looked at with suspicion by Jewish people as having a secret agenda to evangelise.  There is still a problem with a rift between Christians and Jews which is gradually being healed today.

I’ll list some really good ministries who deserve your support next month.

Iran’s senior leader has terminal illness and why believers should pray for him

The Ayatollah of Iran has terminal cancer.   This dictator is the most wicked man of our current world.    Make no mistake, Iran is not only a danger to Israel, but has threatened using a bomb on the US and UK, many of the rest of the Islamic nations are scared of Iran.

Even though he is spending probably tens of billions of Dollars on wanting to nuke Israel, and has my Persian/American friend Saeed in prison for the crime of being a Christian, I pray he will repent of what he has done and find Christ. I’m curious to know what will happen to Iran’s government when this guy leaves this earth, as he has no planned successor.

Please pray for this man to find Jesus and repent of his sin.   If this seems hard to fathom, a member of the government of another strict Islamic nation’s government left Islam and accepted Christ and openly said he would understand if he was killed for his faith.khamenehi-hospital

http://mohabatnews.com/fa/?p=3478 (Read with Google Translator) 

This site is run by Persian believers so I would consider this reliable site.

Strangely this story hasn’t really made it to mainstream news, regular Christian news, or middle east news outlets.

Matthew 5 : 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jeremiah 32 : 26 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

The most astonishingly amazing thing about Iran, it may be Israel’s worst enemy and biggest threat to the whole world, but it also has the largest number of people leaving Islam and coming to Christ.    It is truly incredible how wonderful our Lord is who can turn around people in places where there is so much darkness.

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

These are false teachers that need to be avoided at all costs.    However some pastors and Christian organisations still work with them not realising their background.

Jono Vandor – “Truth2U”

It may seem obvious this guy should be avoided, but he pops up in some of my friend’s Facebook likes which concerns me.

jono vandor false teacher smaller

Jono is an Australian blogger and radio host for the last 5 years initially as a bible study for Christians to learn about Jewish roots, in 2010, this was quoted on a forum:-

“TRUTH2U is a new radio program gaining listenership around the globe.

It broadcasts out of a little country town, the cherry capital of Australia, Young NSW. (GMT+11, Sunday mornings 11-12)

It runs for one hour and is hosted by me, jono vandor.

The aim of TRUTH2U is to expose the pagan (!) and elevated traditions of man in professing Christianity while upholding Torah and the reality of Scripture. Primarily, TRUTH2U seeks to serve YHWH and those set-apart to Him by broadcasting the truth of His Son, Yahshua Messiah.”

Since then the direction has changed completely to being against Yeshua and against the gospel and teach Christians about Judaism. This guy uses lots of material from people like Michael Skobac, Tovia Singer and Ira Michaelson from Jews for Judaism.   This is a group specifically to stop Jewish people knowing about Jesus, truth2u aboutbut a bunch of 50 something Rabbis aren’t going to appeal to today’s youth, that why they need a middle man like Jono who can make it sound appealing to Christians look from today’s blogging/podcast generation.    Actually Jews for Judaism aka Outreach Judaism also want to target ordinary Christians who are attracted to Orthodox Judaism.

These online presentations and Israel tour visits are slickly presented as a Jewish/Christian social thing, but its clear they want to present you with an exit from the gospel with some false teaching.

Nehemiah Gordon

Nehemiah is not a believer but a Karaite Jew.   Hes been interviewed in a few Christian TV channels.  As he writes about Yeshua he must be a good guy?   Or almost getting there??

hebrew Yeshua book

This book is effectively telling Christians about the sacred name idea I wrote earlier, its a way to get Christians out of their normal church and regular thinking into odd sound teaching which leads them to dropping Yeshua.

Disturbingly pick at random any of the people who are a member of this group, there is a disturbing trend of these people tend to be ex-Christians wanting to be Jewish and seeking strict religious structure.   Gordon is often a guest on the spiritual babiesTruth2U and Spiritualbabies blogs.

He works with an American pastor a lot, this is mainly because the two charge $7.99 a month biblical history subscription to a Christian audience so not surprisingly my warnings to this pastor I emailed fell on deaf ears.

Jason “SpiritualBabies”

Sounds like a cult?    You are correct.    Jason and Lyn are an Irish couple who run a business doing graphics and illustration work.   This was initially used for the message of the gospel, then for a more Hebraic slant as it got Christians to take Jewish practices.   Now its specifically against the gospel.

Like Jono, these people are huge fans of Tovia Singer, and they work together with Jono and some other people to point people towards Tovia’s theology.

Pathways Radio 

This is a channel run by ex-believers which yet again promote anti-Yeshua teacher Rabbi Tovia Singer.   It proclaims itself as ‘idolfree’ but actually it has some talks on witchcraft!!!

From this appalling site:- “There is nothing more offensive to the Jewish people, and the Jewish faith, than organizations that target Jews with vile, disgusting perversions of scripture in order to trick, manipulate, and convert a holy people into pagan religion.

The Christian church considers the Jews as prime targets for this onslaught of lies.  The church has incorporated assimilation tactics into its repitiore. These tactics include additional Christian denominations called: Messianic Judaism, Nazarene (Netzari) Judaism, Hebrew Roots, and other alternative names.  Their principle objective is to trick the Jewish person into seeing Jesus….”

From a book from a member of the ‘Pathways radio’ cult;

“….In this book, the reader will witness how AJ and his family journeyed through the following: Christianity Atheism Born-again Christianity Messianic Judaism Hebrew roots Nazarene Judaism Finally, reality (!!!!) Each dramatic step, each oddity, and even the colorful characters met along the way are described in every way! AJ Ostrander was an energetic and passionate evangelical preacher in the church for ten years….”

Bottom line; the Hyper Hebrew Roots movement pulls people away from the church and Christian friends and family and gradually into progressively more weird teaching, excluding the love and salvation of Christ, into apostasy.

2 Peter 2 : 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

There is a consistent pattern that many of the believers were following Yeshua up until a few years ago, but were telling ordinary Christians to keep Torah and keep kosher and urged them that Jewish practices were mandatory for everyone.     Then these people denied Jesus altogether.

Ephesians 5 : 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Am I indulging in slander, Lashon Hara (or Lashing Horror) towards these people?   I have chatted to some people who are believers who got into this stuff.  Some to the bad stuff (Staley/Rood Crowd in part 2 below) and some truly appalling stuff like these men.

Please, please, this is not about encouraging antisemitism or bashing Judaism in any way, this is exposing half a dozen oddball religious groups pretending to be education for Christians pointing them towards denying Yeshua using the same old teaching from Singer/Skobac.   I have a huge respect for Judaism, but not when its twisting Christian and Jewish scriptures as used by these phonies.

If I can save one person from this total garbage then these blog posts will be worth it.

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 5. Do believers need to keep Torah?

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

So what is Torah? 

bible diagram

This is the first 5 books of the bible.

There are lots of Hebrew Roots groups that have Torah in their name.  New2Torah, Wisdom in Torah, Torah Life Ministries, Joyfully Growing in Torah.  (this last one is mocking a similar sounding site for those leaving or have family affected by the HR movement)

So do we need to follow the first 5 books of the bible or all 66 books of the bible?   What do you think?

I’m not going to give you and answer on this.   C’mon, pick up a bible and do your own research.   Certainly not a dubious person on the internet like me.

Isn’t it best to say that believers in Jesus/Yeshua should be followers of the whole bible in context, rather than just the Torah to avoid any confusion?

There are many newer obligations (like this) we need to follow as believers in Jesus/Yeshua, some of the commandments are fulfilled by Jesus.    So dear readers, I’m not going to tell you what to think, you need to pick up that book ok?

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 4. Sacred names

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM
NB, I’m a Christian who loves Israel and Jewish people.   These posts aren’t criticism of actual Jewish people or Israel or believers in Yeshua/Jesus, only of Christians that may go a bit over the top or get confused over names and language differences.   Please see first article to get better idea of what this is about.

How people say most common names for God

Traditional Jews: God is written as יהוה (Yod Hey Vav Hey) phonetically pronounced Yahweh or Jahovah.   However traditional Jews will never pronounce this, only pronounce this as Adonai. (Lord)  Therefore if Christians pronounce this in public this may offend or seem insensitive to observant Jews. God may also written as G-d, traditional Jews will leave one letter missed out, in a way deemed respectful of not writing his name in full. Elohim, El Shaddai, Eloheunu are allHebrew names for God.   In fact anything with -im on the end is a plural (aha! you can spot the trinity!) You will often see words with Yah or El.   This words are found inside a few popular names. Hashem literally ‘His name’

Ways of writing Jesus

Correct: Jesus or Yeshua or ישוע (Yod Shin Vav Ayen)

Not right: Other names used by the HHRM, that are not really right; Yahshua, Yahoshua, Ioshua, etc Allah this is the Muslim word for God, and used by Arab Christians, and also Christians in Malta. (they have an Arabic derived language)   I prefer not using these for regular western Christians, this is another theological hot potato for another day.

Definitely wrong:-
Yeshu/ישו (insult)  This is a Hebrew abbreviation for “may his name by blotted out” used by those against Yeshua.
Issa (used by Muslims who describe Jesus as only a prophet in the Koran)

Arab believers: Correct word for Jesus in Arabic for Arab believers is Yesu

If believers in Jesus/Yeshua someone tells you can ONLY use a certain name and gets finicky about it, they may have issues with legalism. Often HHRM people will tell you can only use THEIR own definition of a name only, and anything else is wrong or ‘Pagan’. I once went to a Messianic congregation in UK, there was a man who was Jamaican who was dressed as a Jew who was speaking, he told us that anyone who used the word Jesus was actually referring to the Greek God Zeus.   This was the worse teaching I have heard so I walked out.    This was a total embarrassment as this was a congregation of mostly non Jews trying to do Jewish customs in a clumsy insensitive way, in a part of the city with a lot of ultra Orthodox Jews close by.  This was such a cringeworthy painful experience that would no way impress anyone in this community.

What they forget is the gospel was spread to all nations, so Jesus died for all people and all races, so his name is going to be written differently as the gospel is translated to every language, tribe and tongue.   Today, because of the internet and more affordable travel, its feasible to bring the message of Jesus to every single part of the world.

Philippians 2 : 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here’s another example.   My name is Jonathan.   I’m not Jewish.   My name is extremely popular among Jews especially in Israel, and ordinary British chaps like me born in the mid 1970s. Actually name is Jonathan is really which is pronounced Yahnatan which is written יונתן (yntn) My name comes from Yah Natan = God’s gift/given.

Over the years this has got changed on its way to a language like English. Yah has become Jah which has become ‘Jo’ I think “J” only pronounced “Jer” in English, French and Arabic.    In German, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch and Hebrew its pronounced as a Y.

“natan” has become Nathan (another boy’s name) There is two different types of Ts in Hebrew that look like ט and like ת – so when one is Latinised its written as a “TH”. So among religious hipsters thinking they have the most authentic way of doing religion, please look down on me as I’ve got a Hebrew name that’s been interfered with over a few centuries.   Oh well. :) I get annoyed if people call me Jonathon, Johnathan or something else, but that just me :)

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping kosher & eating

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

NB, I’m a Christian who loves Israel and Jewish people.   These posts aren’t criticism of actual Jewish people or Israel or believers in Yeshua/Jesus, only of Christians that may go a bit over the top or get confused of the roles of Jewish diets and holiday practices.

In the Hyper Hebrew Roots Movement (HHRM) folks may often tell you that Christmas and Easter are Pagan and should be avoided.

Well yes, they are mostly true, over years lots of things have distorted and changed the defining times which we remember Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.   I like Christmas and Easter as I don’t have to work and I can see family.  More importantly its a time to remember Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection.   These are times which are unlikely to be their authentic weeks but its not really a big deal.  Fussing and wanting people to change is simply daft.

If you want to keep the biblical feasts then great!  If you want to do Christmas and Easter great! if you want to do everything, even better!

video-friday_im_in_love

To keep overly religious people happy. The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love will now be known as Yom Shishi I’m in love.

Valentine’s day, Halloween, Lag B’Omer are all Pagan too.  The days of the week are named after pagan gods!   Therefore paganism is everywhere.   Should we call them something different?

Let’s face it, you are not going to change the minds of 99.99% of Christians who celebrate Christmas and Easter, or worship on a Sunday.

If you feel uncomfortable about Christmas and Easter, don’t be a jerk forcing everyone not to celebrate it, unless you actually want to go to work that day.

Want to celebrate Jewish holidays?

Purim, Hanukkah, Feast of Trumpets, Shavuot, Yom Kippur are great ways to get together, gain an understanding of Jewish history and their meaning, as well as build friendships with Jewish people, whether they are secular, religious or believers.

What does the bible say about holidays?

Romans 14 : 14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

What does the bible say about eating practices in the New Covenant?

Colossians 2 : 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Therefore for believers in Yeshua/Jesus;

  • If you eat all things including pork and shellfish you are ok
  • If you don’t feel comfortable eating those things you are ok
  • Being vegetarian is ok
  • Abstaining from alcohol, which is common among more conservative American and African believers is ok, but not wrong for believers who do it in moderation.

Forcing other people to do it your way isn’t ok.  Doing something to upset your brother who doesn’t have the same diet as you is definitely not ok.

Something I see in the HHRM movement is people forcing other people to engage in special (not talking about kosher) diets.   Eating healthy is great, but telling people they have to do juicing and buying more expensive organic stuff is ultimately part someone’s artificial religious rules forced upon someone else.   I once visited a friend’s bible study who were so into this stuff, they told me I couldn’t come unless I did 2 hours ‘training’ on their special diet practices.  Hmm.

Acts 15 :15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (!) 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” (!)

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

What do today’s Israeli Messianic Jewish believers do regarding when to go to congregation?   Friday, Saturday or Sunday?

Today’s congregations of Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel aren’t really called synagogues (which is actually a Greek word, the Hebrew word for Jewish house of worship is a Beit Ha’Knesset, house of meeting places)   but usually a kehilat assembly or just church.   These building are usually plain in appearance, such as a converted office or factory.   When I traveled up to the Galilee in northern Israel, I had the opportunity to fellowship in congregations with local believers up there.

King of Kings Jerusalem meet every Friday for Hebrew speaking believers and Sunday for English speaking believers.   Christ church in Old City of Jerusalem, have at least 4 services over the weekend for Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English believers.   All other congregations can greatly vary being Friday, Saturday or Sunday.   Often it’s just practical logistics in terms of having enough seats, and multiple services need to be over several sessions.   Of course some of these are home churches too.

In addition to that, among the relatively tiny (15,000-20,000) body of Jewish believers in Israel, there is an inner niche group for Russian and Ethiopian believers too.    Often Arab believers can be part of some of the larger congregations too.

Congregations are shared because there are not enough seats, so multiple fellowships are done over several slots.

More scripture warning against legalism

Romans 16: 17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

Related:

The Christmas tree is a pagan decorated idol myth:-
http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1389 

Defending Christmas
http://extraordinaryintelligence.com/defending-christ-the-king-refuting-the-pagan-roots-lie/

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

NB, I’m a Christian who loves Israel and Jewish people.   These posts aren’t criticism of actual Jewish people or Israel or believers in Yeshua/Jesus, only of unusual religious groups who I’m concerned people I know have got into.   If you have just discovered this please start from the first page, thanks.

So who are the people who in the Hyper Hebrew Roots movements?

These people are good at promoting themselves through slick media campaigns, here’s some of the best known ones;

Michael Rood of “A Rood awakening”

roodRood looks like a Jewish man with large beard and often seen in biblical style clothing.   He’s quite a charismatic looking fellow.  He isn’t actually Jewish at all but a former pastor.  He has a big bee in his bonnet about Christmas and Easter and how pagan they are.  “Shabbat Shalom Torah fans” is the cringyiest phrase I’ve seen this movement.

From his Facebook site:

“A Rood Awakening’s Mission: To awaken and deliver people from the perverted traditions of man-made religion so that they can live in loving obedience to the Torah and learn to walk with the Messiah in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bio
Michael’s television series: “Prepare for A Rood Awakening! from Israel” has been heralded as the most energetic exegesis of… See More
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Michael Rood has earned his reputation as the Messianic matador who waves his tattered red cape in the face of the religious “bull” (!) of his generation. Michael’s television series: “Prepare for A Rood Awakening! from Israel” has been heralded as the most energetic exegesis of Scriptural truth to come out of Israel in over a millennium.

Michael has instructed more than 500,000 people at “A Rood Awakening!” seminars and many times that number have been enlightened through his teaching materials and radio shows, Michael Rood is broadcasting his unique and inspiring insights to television audiences in the English and Spanish-speaking world. These groundbreaking video productions, as well as Michael Rood’s books, audio teachings, Biblical calendar, and Israel tours, are all featured in the A Rood Awakening! Resources Catalog and Tour Brochure.

The first to admit that he is a not-so-mild-mannered reporter of the miraculous acts of the Almighty, Michael Rood fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way of Creator-given rights – rights that no religious or civil tyrant has the authority to alienate from the people. He has survived the barbarous brainwashing of Christianesque cults (!) as well as the torturous tests of traditional Churchianity. For those attempting to navigate the minefields of man-made religion in the search for truth, Michael offers sage advice that comes from a lifetime of experience – not from an unsoiled manual copied in cloistered convents, nor from dogmas dictated in denominational didactories.”

Rood’s goal isn’t to show how we are saved by grace of the Lord Jesus, but to get Christians to do Jewish practices using his own legalism battering ram.  He puts a strong emphasis on keeping shabbat and not working even though his ministry is selling his DVDs as part of the “Shabbat night live” TV shows he does.   Oh dear.

There’s been concerns about where ministry money has been used in his “Rood Awakening” TV shows and ministry #1

Jim Staley of “Passion for Truth”

jim-staley-passion-for-truth-ministriesStaley is a man on a mission to “save” Christians from pagan modern practice and get them back into what they should be.   Hes a polite, well spoken, seemingly educated man.   Passion for truth is focused on Christians being Torah observant, and little mention of Jesus’ atonement through sacrifice on the cross.

Staley is about to go to jail for fraud.    Disturbingly, Staley’s fans are eager to defend him even thought he has CONFESSED this crime which will carry a few years in the clink. #2

Lew White of “Fossilized Customs”

lew white weirdoThis is a weird name for a supposedly biblical history group.   Lew seems highly critical of traditional Christian practices such as going congregation on a sunday.   But does he practice what he preaches?   Well, Lew White runs a record shop as a separate business selling all kinds of new age things, hes been exposed by other bloggers who taken lots of pictures of his highly dubious merchandise in his shop. #3

Other groups include 119 ministries “test everything” which use images to share to annoy your Facebook friends.   There’s lots of anti Christmas and anti Easter stuff they use.   Psalm 119 is actually a great passage which we should use to test everything including these people!!

When I was new to learning about Israel I was keen on this stuff, but no one would answer my questions on why “all food is made clean” at the end of Romans.   This year I’ve just finishing studying about Romans and found it really helpful, we are not under the yoke of law now.   I’ll explain more about food and holidays a little later.

What does the scriptures say about these sorts of people?

Mark 12:38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers (in the context of the pharisees) of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Galatians 2 :2 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

My thoughts

Its not necessary for gentile Christians to take up Jewish practices. Gentiles should be Gentiles, Jews should be Jews.   One should not pretend to be the other, but both need to love of Jesus, and both should fellowship together.   For Jewish people who are believers in Yeshua/Jesus there is some good teaching I’ll recommend later.

The above folks I’ve mentioned have zero credibility with the Israeli believer community.

1. http://www.empirenet.com/~messiah7/spl_RoodArbitraRep.htm 

2. http://www.christianpost.com/news/passion-for-truth-ministries-pastor-jim-staley-confesses-to-cheating-investors-out-of-3-3m-and-pocketing-570k-for-himself-138547/

3. http://www.messianichallofshame.com/zlewwhite4.html 

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Hyper Hebrew Roots movement – 1. What my definition of HHRM is

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

What is Hyper Hebrew Roots? Its a word I’ve made up, but this is my definition of what it is. This is a modern religious movement of Christians who are fascinated by Israel and Jewish people, but are confused about the roles and how this impacts them. Christian Zionism and supporting Israel is great, and making friends with Jewish people, secular, religious and believers.

Recently I have seen mention of “Hyper Grace” – Christians who believe in Grace but feel forgiveness and confession of sins isn’t needed.   Grace is needed but not by compromising our need to deal with our sins.

When I see some Christians who love Israel and Jewish culture changing their worship and teaching to something new and unknown this can concern me.

I use the Hyper Hebrew Roots Movement as a separate thing from traditional Jews, Messianic Jews and Christian Zionists. Christians who are opposed to Christian Zionism who I disagreed with do have used some legitimate concerns about the Hebrew Roots movements, so I thought I’d share my criticism as someone who supports Israel.

Warning, I need to state I am completely against antisemitism and any hostility to Jewish people and nation of Israel.   These criticisms are intended to people of Christian audience who may have confusion over their faith background or for who get into some unusual teaching without discernment. So, why on earth would a Christian like me who loves Israel and Jewish people who served the Jewish people talk about this on his blog?

This because all niche ministries in the Christian world can have some bad stuff.   It is necessary to educate people who may get swayed by them kindly but firmly with patience. The HHRM phenomenon is not Christian or Jewish, it is a big man-made heap of religious confusion. HHRM is characterised by the three or more of the following:-

  • Pretends to have understanding of Hebrew and Jewish traditions and practices but often getting them wrong
  • “Sacred names”, a rigid compulsion to only refer to God and Jesus by certain words only
  • Unkind words to former churches, Christian friends and pastors
  • Defence of criminal actions by teachers of questionable doctrine (certain bad teachers are going to jail for fraud)
  • Legalism
  • Frequently gets into fights and quarrels
  • Has unusual religious clothing
  • Rigid ideas about food (not necessarily about kosher)
  • Denial of the Trinity
  • Paints the whole church as ‘pagan’ and lost
  • Lacks discernment
  • Does not go to any church or congregation at all
  • Lives in solitude and doesn’t mix with others believers, won’t let their kids mingle with any other kids
  • Little understanding of New Covenant and Jesus’s death and resurrection
  • Believe someone can be saved without Christ
  • Cultish behaviour
  • And in extreme situations, apostasy

I love:-

  • Christians who support Israel
  • Dialogue between Christians and traditional Jews
  • Getting to know Arab people who consider Israel their home, as well other ethnic groups in Israel such as Armenian Christians, Bedouins and Druze
  • Evangelism, this needs to be done sensitively with bad ways Christians have treated Jews previously
  • Supporting Israel in prayer and in physical needs
  • Learning Jewish foundations of Christianity
  • Learning Hebrew
  • Discovering Jewish history in other countries (I went travelling around Morocco in March, a country that once had 250,000 Jews)
  • Finding out about biblical history

In Israel, I love the Jewish people, I particularly love the Messianic Jewish communities. In my opinion to me they are the benchmark of what I see are the right way for Jewish people worldwide to know Yeshua, the styles of teaching will often vary greatly though.    My Israeli believer friends are completely far and away from the odd teaching I see from the HHRM movement.    In short, HHRM is an embarrassment to both Jews and Christians.

There are builders or tradesman there are people who will do terrible building work or take people’s money and disappear. Sometimes the ministry world is like that, there are bad people can take advantage of vulnerable people.   So rather than blame the whole movement, I need to highlight some bad practices that crop up for the purpose of keeping my brothers and sisters in Jesus safe and show examples of scripture.

I’m going to talk more about what I have seen over several posts.

1. What my definition of HHRM is 2. Popular but highly sketchy names in the movement – 3. Holidays, Shabbat, keeping & eating4. Sacred names5. Do believers need to keep Torah?6. Bad teaching that leads to apostasy – 7. How we can help people in HHRM

Magnificent Morocco – 27. Fez Jewish cemetery

jewish door bellSeveral times I passed this wall with bell outside.  This is the door entrance to Fez’s Jewish cemetry.  This is actually a part of the Jewish “quarter” of Fez’s old city.   But there is nothing obvious there remaining that is Jewish apart from this and Aban Danan Synagogue.

Notice the Arabic, French, English and Hebrew explanations.

It took my several attempts passing to find if this place was open.   So on the Sunday before I left I finally got to go here.

Below: I think like in Israel, some of these nice fountains in Morocco aren’t running due to concerns of drought.

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Charity preserves from death.   Like to know if there is money being raised for the remaining elderly Jews who still live in Morocco.

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Some of these graves are for more famous rabbis.   Just like the graves I’ve seen on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, this chimney structure I’m not sure of its exact purpose, but people put candles in a chamber underneath.

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Few people have only passed in the last decade.

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Jewish museum inside the cemetery walls.    Its shut, couldn’t find anyone to tell me if it ever opens.

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I’m guessing graves of poor people aren’t always marked.

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This grave is from a Jewish girl murdered as she turned down the marriage offer of a Muslim prince.

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The only actual Moroccan Jews I could find were a couple who were doing the upkeep of this cemetry.   They didn’t speak English.   I did however meet about 15 Israelis on a tour here with a leader explaining this place in Hebrew.

fez cemetry

Well, what have I learnt from the Jewish history of Morocco?  Its sadly almost to extinction.   The remaining Jewish people are small enough in number to be practically invisible.  Since the modern state of Israel existed in 1948 and Morocco became independent in 1956, moving over to a nation that’s more of a natural place to be consistent with history has made Israel a main choice in leaving Morocco.   Although the Jews of North Africa had not experienced the horrors of the holocaust, persecution has happened here as well.

So my journey is done.    No more Jews in Morocco.
עם ישראל חי  – Am Israel Chi.   (Meaning The people of Israel live.)

Did the Lord plan for the Jews to up and leave from Israel, and North Africa, and other places?

Isaiah 43 : 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

God wants Jewish people back from different parts of the world they were dispersed back to Israel.   Soon, a large revival will happen as Jesus’s return back to Jerusalem happens as promised in the scriptures.

The end.

Previous 26. The Aben Danan synagogue

Why UK Christian supporters of Israel should be wary from John Hagee & CUFI

Heard the other day that John Hagee’s Christian United for Israel was launching a UK operation and there was a grand opening.   In the past CUFI did a great job of showing the importance of Israel to a regular Christian audience.

This is sadly appeared online a few years ago.

cufi false

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgx61czJpEQ

Friends, please steer clear of John Hagee and Christians United for Israel. *

Some really great Christian ministries will stick to social support without evangelism such as the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace and Christian friends of Israel.  This means they can get relationships with rabbis, IDF leaders, municipality leaders and members of the Israel government.

Some will do actual evangelism like Jews for Jesus, Jakob Damkani, who do great work explaining the gospel to a Jewish audience, but do not have the means to build broader relationships across communities.

I’m going to a list a run down of some of the best ministries for believers to support Israel in another blog post soon.   There’s plenty out there which do deserve your prayer and donations.

Matthew 10:32-33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

* Note: I’ve changed this, as I think Pastor Hagee badly explained what he was planning to speak about.   I have added a link explaining why here.