A lot of Christians show concern about other Christian studying Hebrew people and customs. Why?
Well, it is somewhat normal to react this way– It’s the same as the wrath of a mother bear protecting her baby out of love. We don’t want anything to take away from the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
Any hint of needing to add some kind of work makes those who love Christ and appreciate His sacrifice respond with a knee-jerk reaction –they are being loyal to our Messiah.
I had a similar reaction. For me the desire to protect my belief led me to deeper study and eventual realization that Jesus was a Hebrew and I could know more about Him by studying the customs of the Hebrews in Bible times.
After much study I learned about the dramatic turn from our Hebrew roots in the early church and how deeply man’s tacked-on traditions and Anti-semitism have affected mainline denominations today. Years of misunderstanding make people afraid to learn simple truths about God.
I didn’t know I was seeing through years of mistranslation until I spent a lot of time studying and praying (please don’t take this as pride in studying—there is no other way to explain it) and working through ASSUMPTIONS from years of teaching. Once you put things into the Hebraic context and read Scripture with new eyes it all falls into place.
Always remember it is not a way to earn salvation or to be better than someone else. The concern that the Hebrews have to earn salvation is a false assumption. (Read a free excerpt from Assumptions That Affect Our Lives)
Quite the opposite–we don’t do ANY thing to earn salvation. Understanding the Hebrew language (how they use verbs for example) showed me it’s not even OUR faith that saves us. In the passages we interpret “faith” as “OUR faith” it is actually “God’s faith” or God’s faithfulness to provide a sacrifice or Jesus’ faithfulness to death on the cross that provides for our salvation.
The deeper I get into the Bible in this way the more I appreciate what God has done for us. I can say that this study has only brought me to a deeper appreciation and desire to be like Christ—never to rely on customs.
Those who have had been blessed to study and learn need to be very careful to never appear as if learning these things would ever take away from the perfect holy sacrifice.
Do You React With Opinion or Study?
I used to react to anything I had not studied with my strong OPINION. I have been humbled with this approach. We must all react to different views by studying what God’s Word says (hermeneutically) before reacting with personal opinion. In Romans 14, Paul is instructing and rebuking weaker believers to keep views to themselves, not to use them as a standard by which to judge others, and to truly study the matter so he will be “fully persuaded” (Paul is actually and presently teaching them so they can be fully persuaded and not remain ignorant, see Romans 14: 22, 3, 5).
No one wants to believe they are “weak,” but we ALL are weak in some areas. I certainly am–I am weak in MANY areas that I have not fully studied yet (such as the return of Christ). Someone else may be strong in this area and weak in others. If you haven’t fully studied the subject, pray about it. Don’t rely on pulpit teaching or opinion. Be a Berean–study and pray and then you can defend your belief.
Which brings us full circle to the main goal of Heart of Wisdom methods–for parents and children to learn to study God’s word for themselves and not rely on man’s teachings–a Hebrew method of teaching your children!.
A quick way to judge any new teaching (actually, in this case, very old) is to ask “Does it focus on love?” —because Jesus taught that His ways can be summed up in two commands –loving God and loving others.
Walk Softly and Keep Your Eyes on Christ!
If you have been studying the Hebrew roots it is important to remember to use spiritual discernment when talking to Christians that are not aware of our rich heritage. Walk softly. Don’t get defensive –stay humble. If you must disagree do it in a sincere loving manner in prayer. Dr John Garr, author of Restoring Our Lost Legacy: Christianity’s Hebrew Heritage wisely said,
“We whom God is using to advance the radical restoration of taking the church back to its Jewish roots must ever remember that ours is not an elitist, exclusive, judgmental society. We must keep our eyes focused on the ever-moving Cloud of Glory; however, we must build bridges behind us while reaching out to new horizons of faith and truth.
Flexibility adds to our strength. It is never a sign of weakness to reach out to someone else in love and affirmation, even if we do not understand all they believe. Let us continue to work at Hebraic restoration, but let us also mirror the spirit of Christ who came into the world not to condemn but to save.”
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.