Examining the Jewish roots movement


Examining the Jewish roots movement  
The Jewish roots movement, began to spring up in the early 1970s, as people touched by the holy spirit through the charismatic movement of the early 1960s onward began to examine their faith in the light of our Jewish heritage. Most understood the clear typography that we can see in the Old Testament law and feasts. However, some rapidly became sidetracked by the external trappings of Judaism, while not seeing their real meaning.
Let us look at the history of the church to see where the separation between Christians and Jews came. It is almost certain that Jesus never came to start a new religion, but rather to fulfil the law and the Prophets. In Acts 2 we see that the early community of believers were devout Jews from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). Thus the primitive Church was essentially a Jewish community.
In Acts 10 we read of the first Gentile believers. If you look carefully at how Cornelius and his whole household were described, it was as devout and God-fearing, who not only gave in charity, but prayed to the Lord regularly. The Lord had already shown Peter that those whom he was to meet were already clean. The Lord confirmed this by pouring out his holy spirit on them. As a result, Peter felt free to baptize them as full members of Christ's body. How is it possible that Jewish believers could so readily access these new Gentile believers? Simple, because throughout history the Jews have accepted that there are Gentiles who are so attracted to the Lord, that they will either convert to Judaism or more commonly will simply worship the Lord whilst accepting "the laws of the children of Noah". Which the " Torah" says apply to all humans irrespective of race. These faithful Gentile believers are known as "Gerim" or "the righteous/pious among the nations".
The seven Noahide Laws are:-
  • not to worship idols
  • not to curse God
  • not to commit murder
  • not to commit adultery or sexual immorality
  • not to steal
  • not to eat flesh from a living animal
  • to establish courts of justice
According to the Talmud, the rabbis agree that the seven laws were given to the sons of Noah. However, they disagree on precisely which laws were given to Adam and Eve. Six of the seven laws are exegetically derived from passages in Genesis, with the last one being the establishment of courts.
You can see how closely with these laws accord with the decisions of the apostolic Council of the church in Acts  15:29 "abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality keep from doing these things and you will fare well".
The apostles made these rules specifically so that Gentile believers were not burdened by the law.
The "righteous/pious among the nations", were considered to have a part in the world to come. So we can concluded that the reason that the early Gentile believers were fully accepted, is that they were considered as "righteous/pious Gentiles" and thus, in a very real sense, they were no longer strangers but fellow citizens with the Saints and members of God's household. (Ephesians 2:19.).
Jewish law does not allow for "Gerim" to be forced to take the final step of conversion, circumcision. Even choosing to follow the Noahide laws, had to be a voluntary decision of the individual. Nowhere are Gentiles expected to keep the whole law of Moses. That is why James, Paul and the other apostles argued so strongly against the Judaizers, legalistic, Pharisaic Christians who insisted that Gentile believers must obey the whole law of Moses, and fully convert, including circumcision for men. By so doing the Judaizers rejected God's Word in Leviticus 19:34 where it says, "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." This is why Paul and the other apostles so clearly and resolutely took a stand against the Judaizers. 
 In the past few years some in the Jewish roots movement have begun to teach that Gentile Christians really should obey all of the 613 old Testament laws (including circumcision). Thus they had joined the ranks of the Judaizers. We need to remind ourselves of Paul's letter to the Galatians, especially chapter 3. That the law was necessary until Jesus came. By faith he took all of our sin's and set us free from the law of sin and death, giving us life and peace in himself for all time. In fact verse 11 would suggest that if we choose to follow the law, we not only have become bound by all of the them. Then, we would be putting aside our faith in Christ, rather putting faith in our ability to keep the law, which is futile. 
 And following the fees and fast should not be seen as keeping the law, but rather as celebrating the foreshadowing of Jesus in these things. For example, his death at Passover and the coming of the holy spirit at Pentecost etc. 
 In adding Jewish trappings to our life and worship, not to trivialise or lessen them. Although I could mention many things I think that I should draw attention to the growing presence of shofars in Christian gatherings. We know that the last day will be announced by the blast of a trumpet (probably not a shofar, but a silver trumpet from the temple). Therefore the call of the trumpet or shofar has a very holy and articular significance for us. A shofar played well, count in harm's eight worship experience, reminding us of God's holy presence. Yet many who have equipped themselves with outrageously huge Kurdu horns, rather than the more modest Rams horn. Intrude in worship with skilless blasts at inopportune moments, thus disturbing us in God's presence. I am not saying no to shofars, but just like any other way we use to glorify God, we must practice to improve understanding why and when the shofar with used, and not getting trapped by the sin of pride, that bigger is better. Any Rams horn can make a loud call, what is more it can fit into your coat pocket rather than an ostentatious long tube or rifle case. 
Some have started wearing prayer shawls, which reminds me of when Jesus chastises the Pharisees for their ostentatious dress. Matthew 23:5. In fact there is much about today'sJudizers that reminds me of the Pharisees. 
 Together, those of us who are in Christ, are fully Gerim, (pious among the nations) with our Jewish brethren who have accepted the Messiah, they're absolutely is neither Jew nor Gentile, but rather one body of Christ. 
  Keith Smith Feb. 2018  
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© Copyright 2018 Keith W. Smith  and Jesus Gathering. All rights reserved Internationally. Reprint by written permission of the author only

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