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Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

Hat tip to Apostasy Watch:

This is also apostasy, because these religions can’t all be true considering the fact they all contradict each other…

This is the one world religion the Bible speaks of in Revelation, the end is growing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions

Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.

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This is a good article to read to understand the continuing and expanding alienation of Israel around the world, and that alienation includes Jews who live in the U.S.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Throughout the 2000 years of Jews living in the Diaspora, there has been no precedent comparable to the behavior of major liberal mainstream sectors of the American Jewish community. They are undermining themselves and provoking massive waves of resentment from Americans, many of whom were favorably disposed towards them.

The United States has been the home of the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora for nearly a century and was regarded by many Jews as the “goldene medina.” Traditional anti-Semitism is at an all-time low with the exception of the current anti-Israel agitation initiated on college campuses by Muslims and far-left radicals. Many Jews have become affluent, powerful and are highly respected by most Americans.

Until recently, all mainstream Jewish organizations sought to maintain Democrat and Republican bipartisanship with regard to Israel and major issues of Jewish concern. This, despite the fact that for complex historical reasons, the vast majority of American Jews were inclined toward liberalism and voted Democrat.

Even after eight years of President Barack Obama’s efforts to create daylight between Israel and the United States in order to appease Iran and the Arab countries and despite the extraordinary support for Israel expressed by all sections of the Republican Party, Jews still tended to vote Democrat. This contrasted sharply with Anglo-Jewry, whose members defected in droves from the British Labour Party when it became anti-Israel/anti-Semitic under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Regrettably, a number of mainstream U.S. liberal Jewish organizations broke with all tradition and displayed unprecedented and extreme partisanship in the recent US election and its aftermath. This may have disastrous long-term repercussions on the standing and influence of the American Jewish community.

The Anti-Defamation League, a previously respected body whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism, began crossing red lines as soon as its new CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama aide, assumed leadership after the retirement of Abe Foxman. Even before the elections, Greenblatt assumed a J Street profile and introduced left-wing policy initiatives, including pontificating about and criticizing Israeli policies, which were totally beyond his jurisdiction.

At the same time, he opposed legislation to prohibit anti-Israel boycotts, suggesting that many of its supporters were misled idealists seeking to promote the peace process. He also minimized concern for the rabid anti-Semitic platform of the Black Lives Matter movement, excusing it on the grounds that it was engineered by a small minority.

More significantly, he downplayed the escalating anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism on the college campuses initiated by Muslim and far-left groups – highly ironic for the head of the organization whose raison d’être is to combat anti-Semitism. But it was in the course of America’s most bitter and brutal electoral race that a number of liberal Jewish groups, headed by the ADL, initiated a partisan campaign against Republican candidate Donald Trump and his supporters.

Like most Americans, many Jews were distressed and polarized by the shameful and vulgar behavior of candidates. As individuals, American Jews have every right to express their political feelings. But officially, as Jewish mainstream organizations – as distinct from politically left Jewish groups – they had no right to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on issues unconnected to Jewish rights or interests.

It is also understandable that many Jewish long-time supporters of the Democratic party were  bitterly disappointed with the unexpected outcome of the elections. But to hysterically proclaim the demise of democracy and the rise of fascism, or to compare the Trump ascendancy to the 9/11 attacks and imply that Trump supporters – half of the electorate – are extremists, is sheer lunacy. Indeed the despair and frenzy reached such levels after the elections that a number of Conservative and Reform synagogues conducted formal mourning ceremonies. This is truly collective madness.

Yet ADL officials, together with Reform and Conservative leaders, also publicly exploited anti-Semitism as a vehicle to slander the Trump campaign, hurling accusations of anti-Semitism and fascism. In so doing, these groups may have caused irreparable harm to the Jewish community from among Trump’s supporters, who comprise half of the American people, many of whom had previously been positively inclined toward Jews.

The false allegations and innuendoes of anti-Semitism were accompanied by counter-productive hysteria, warning of the threat emanating from marginal right-wing anti-Semitic groups, implying that these few hundred extremists were a critical component of Trump’s support and thus the entire party was compromised.

The campaign against the extremist fringes and the national media exposure to these relatively unknown marginal neo-Nazis and degenerates, such as David Duke and Richard Spencer and the email hate peddlers, achieved the undesirable result of catapulting them into the national spotlight, which they could never have dreamed of occupying.

Stoking the fires of hysteria after the elections, Greenblatt proclaimed at an ADL conference that anti-Semitism in the United States had never been as bad since the 1930s. He was not relating to the real threat of burgeoning campus anti-Semitism at the but referring to the few hundred Ku Klux Klan lunatics, white supremacists and neo-Nazis allegedly empowered by Trump. Whatever his failings may be, Trump is certainly no anti-Semite.  He has a daughter who converted to Judaism and is religiously observant and he is surrounded by Jews.

The real threat to the Jewish community on which the ADL should be focusing, is at the college campuses where anti-Israelism initiated by Muslim and far left groups has now morphed into open anti-Semitism with increasing manifestations of violence. Freedom of expression is being denied to pro-Israeli speakers who are frequently howled down by these “progressives.” Given that graduates from these institutions will become the leaders of the future, it is truly worrisome that they are being nurtured in such a hostile environment and that it requires courage to support Israel on many campuses.

Displaying double standards, incredibly the ADL provided an imprimatur to Congressman Keith Ellison to become the new head of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison is a Muslim who previously had ties with Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan and has a long record of anti-Israeli hostility. Yet Greenblatt went so far as to describe Ellison as “a man of good character… an important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism.” Instead of combating anti-Semitism, the ADL was whitewashing an opponent of Israel with an anti-Semitic background in order to promote its leftist agenda. However, the public outcry was so overwhelming that  that a week later Greenblatt was forced to state that after  seeing “disturbing”  remarks expressed by Ellison, the ADL now had “serious doubts about his ability to faithfully represent the party’s traditional support for Israel”.

Alas, the extent to which the Democratic Party has veered from its traditional pro-Israel stance was exemplified by the fact that the Charles Schumer, the incoming Jewish Senate Minority Leader, shamefully reiterated that “I stand by Rep. Ellison for the DNC chair…”while I disagree with him on some of his past positions”.

Fortunately, the new administration is unlikely to be anti-Semitic. Aside from other factors, Trump is surrounded by Orthodox Jewish officials who are also passionately pro-Israel. But nevertheless, these partisan mainstream Jewish interventions and refusal to accept the outcome of a democratic election create major tensions and have the potential to severely undermine the standing of the Jewish community.

The only major organization explicitly condemning this behavior is the Zionist Organization of America headed by Mort Klein.

To their credit, following the elections, Malcolm Hoenlein on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and David Harris of the American Jewish Committee called on Americans to reunite as a nation, encouraged Trump to calm the passions, and asked that the incoming administration be judged on its actions.

This enlightened approach is highly commendable. But it is unlikely to suppress the hysteria among those sections of the community that define their Judaism as comprising liberalism and universalism while placing the welfare of Israel low among their priorities. Moreover the links with Israel, which until now were the primary source of Jewish identity for non-Orthodox Jews, will tragically continue to erode.

In addition to the polarized division between Orthodox Jews and the rest of the community, the assimilatory tendencies will further increase, which will lead to the ongoing contraction and quality of the Jewish community.

Far left-Liberals are as free as anyone else to engage in political campaigns, but those heading mainstream Jewish organizations must be compelled to cease exploiting their positions and using anti-Semitism as a vehicle to promote their partisan agenda.

They should also ask themselves one question. Who represents a greater threat to democracy and American Jews? A handful of marginal neo-Nazis and White Supremacists who nobody had ever heard of or a Muslim with a long record of anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel who heads the Democratic National Council?

American Jewry is the most successful, powerful and respected Diaspora in Jewish history. If organizations like the ADL refuse to hearken to the wise counsel expressed by leaders like Malcolm Hoenlein, Mort Klein or David Harris but maintain their current politically partisan policies, American Jews will be marginalized and be perceived as the extension of a Democratic Party that is drifting increasingly further away from its traditional pro-Israel policy.

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“Chick managed to offend Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Freemasons, who found their beliefs discounted, ridiculed or condemned as false — or worse.”

Galatians 5:11:

“Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised–as some say I do–why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.”

“The cross is an offense because it says to the world, “You’re a sinner.” The cross said to the thief who was dying on the other cross, “You’re a sinner. You’d better repent.” And the thief did repent. He confessed his sins. And he said, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus turned to him and said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Christ forgave him right there. But, first, the cross condemned his sins and made him confess and acknowledge that he was a sinner (Luke 23:39-43).”

All False religions demand  “works” to merit entry into a Heaven! Even Roman Catholicism an apostate and works based mutilation of Biblical Christianity puts emphasis on “works”

Biblical Christianity on the other hand says that we can do nothing to merit entry into Heaven. We can only be saved through grace! And that grace comes through belief in Jesus Christ, who he was, and what he did at the Cross!

from The Los Angeles Times:

Jack T. Chick, whose cartoon tracts preached fundamentalist Christianity while vilifying secular society, evolution, homosexuality and the beliefs of Catholics and Muslims, has died. He was 92.

Chick died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday evening, according to a Facebook postingMonday by Chick Publications, based in Rancho Cucamonga. It did not provide other details, and a call for comment left after hours was not immediately returned.

The posting promised that the company would continue Chick’s method, vision and purpose.

Chick’s pulpy, lurid cartoons combined traditional evangelism with frankly conspiracy-minded attacks. He and later other illustrators produced several hundred tracts over the decades. Latching onto the issues of the day, the tracts took aim at abortion, occultism, ecumenism and other perceived evils.

They portrayed everything from rock music to Dungeons & Dragons and Harry Potter as literal traps of the Devil.

One tract, “The Walking Dead,” tapped into the hit zombie TV show but argued: “We’re all like zombies. The spirits inside our souls are dead.”

As with underground comics of the 1960s and 1970s, Chick’s work opposed “the system.” But instead of the military-industrial complex or “The Man,” it was a secular society viewed as debased, demon-inspired and virulently anti-Christian.

One anti-evolution booklet, “Big Daddy?” has a college student exclaiming: “Then we didn’t evolve! The system has been feeding us The Big Lie! We really do have a soul!”

Chick managed to offend Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Freemasons, who found their beliefs discounted, ridiculed or condemned as false — or worse.

“Learn how the papacy helped start Islam, only to have this new daughter rebel against her. You’ll understand the Arab’s place in Bible prophecy. Muslims have been saved by reading this book,” says the blurb for one pamphlet on the Chick Publications order website.

The tracts were criticized for using debunked or one-sided arguments and stereotypical portrayals of blacks, homosexuals, Arabs and others. But they also attracted collectors and fans who cherished them as quirky works of art.

Chick was born in Los Angeles on April 13, 1924. A biography on the company website says he was converted to Christianity by listening to a radio revival program on his honeymoon.

Unable to find a publisher, Chick published his first cartoon revival book in 1961 using $800 he borrowed from a credit union. He founded Chick Publications in 1970.

The tracts were intended to be handed out in bulk and were available cheaply. Chick’s company claimed it had sold about 750 million of them, translated into more than 100 languages.

“His burden has always been to get the Gospel into the hands of millions of lost people around the world,” according to the website.

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One World Religion!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders to join pope at National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

It is called a multireligious service, but for those who have been asked to offer prayers alongside Pope Francis this month, a humble moment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

About a dozen religious leaders, including representatives from Buddhist, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths, will join the pope on Sept. 25 at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Part of Pope Francis’ two-day visit to New York City, the service will include prayers from all of them honoring those who died on 9/11.

According to Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove of Park Avenue Synagogue, it will be “a holy and wholly unique event in the religious life of New York.”

“The pope understands the power of faith or religion as an instrument of peace, as opposed to division or strife,” said Rabbi Cosgrove. “To participate in an interreligious gathering which affirms that, whatever our differences may be, we are children of the same God, is an extraordinary statement.”

Multireligious gatherings between the pope and other faith leaders are essentially a modern practice, experts say, formalized in 1965 with Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council’s declaration for “sincere reverence” of other religions.

That declaration opened the door for meetings between the pope and other religious leaders, said the Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, associate professor of theology and religious studies at St. John’s University in Queens.

Another watershed moment for interfaith meetings came in 1986 when Pope John Paul IIgathered dozens of religious leaders at a World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy. The image of all of them together “sent an important message to the world,” said Rev. Ruiz.

Pope Benedict continued the tradition of interfaith meetings during his 2008 trip to the U.S. He visited Park East Synagogue in New York and participated in several events in Washington, D.C., including an interreligious meeting. In 2011, he marked the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace with another event in Assisi.

But what separates Pope Francis from his predecessors is his deliberate inclusion of other religions, especially members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, Rev. Ruiz said. Some of those leaders are to play an active role in the Sept. 25 event.

It will begin with an invocation by Rabbi Cosgrove and Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University. During the brief program, Pope Francis will offer a prayer and speak. Other religious leaders will then offer prayers, with translators, before an audience of hundreds. Sarah Sayeed, an adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio, will read a translation from Arabic for the event, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor

One of the participants, Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, said she was honored to be included and excited for her faith, and others, to be recognized on the world stage.

“This pope has been so vocal and so broad-minded,” said Dr. Mysorekar. “We’re all able to chant prayers to that same divinity in our own different ways. It ultimately means that all of us collectively stand there and pray in whatever way we want to, but ultimately asking for peace in this world.”

Yasuko Niwano, a leader of the Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Center of New York, said she felt a mixture of honor, nerves and excitement about sharing the stage with Pope Francis. She saw the moment as a way to connect with the pontiff on the subject of openness and inclusiveness, she said.

“He doesn’t have any boundaries,” she said. “In Buddhism, we don’t have any boundary, we welcome anybody.”

The Rev. A.R. Bernard of Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center said he would be reflecting on the Beatitudes, eight blessings at the core of Jesus’ teachings, for his segment of the interreligious service.

Though the city’s religious leaders often get together around common issues of concern, the service with the pope is “a very, very special time, because it’s consistent with the climate in our city with regard to religious tolerance, and interfaith communication and working together,” he said.

“This is not a platform we experience every day,” Rev. Bernard said.

Satpal Singh, a leader of the Sikh community who is based in Buffalo, is hoping to use the moment on Sept. 25 as a way to educate the wider public about the Sikh faith. His prayer would reflect the point that “our actions speak,” he said.

“God expects all of us to love each other irrespective of what our outward beliefs and what our affiliations are,” Dr. Singh said. “That’s the important message that has to come through this forum.”

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from The Berean Call:

The old hymn “I Would Be Like Jesus” has a chorus that has the hymn singers assert, “Be like Jesus, this my song, in the home and in the throng; Be like Jesus all day long! I would be like Jesus.”

Many Christians don’t realize that there is a battle being waged between Jewish externals and rituals as a means of spirituality and sanctification and truly biblical means that are internal heart issues. None would argue that being more like Jesus is a very commendable goal. After all, we are to constantly look to Him (Hebrews:12:2) and see Him as our ultimate example (1 Peter:2:21). But with every journey in life we must decide how we are going to get there. The larger issue of being like Jesus is: What does it really mean? What does it look like? and Just how is it accomplished?

The late Jewish scholar and researcher of first century life in Israel, David Flusser, said rightly; “Jesus was a Jew in every way” ( Jewish Sources in Early Christianity , Adama Books, New York, 1987, p.7). There is absolutely no denying that Jesus was born a Jew and lived an observant Jewish life. He did this to fulfill completely every demand of the law, He did it for us (Romans:8:1-4), and He continues to do it in us if we are true believers.

So if we want to be like Jesus, does that mean that we must become observant Jews, as some allege? Is that what being like Jesus really means? Should Gentile believers try to be Messianic Jews? Can they? Should Gentiles don a yarmulke, worship in a synagogue, blow a shofar, wear a prayer shawl, call Jesus Yeshua or Yeshu, keep the Old Testament feasts and dietary laws, and give their pastors the title of Rabbi, even though Matthew:23:8 says otherwise? Are Jewish ceremonies and practices efficacious?

Do we need to restore first century or later Jewish practices to really be good Christians? The Pharisees practiced all the ceremonies, but theirs is a cautionary tale since Jesus told them that they did these things in vain (Matthew:15:7-9, See also Matthew 23).

So, is Jewishness next to godliness? One very modern movement would answer the question with a loud—“yes, more or less!” This growing movement is called the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM). Unfortunately, it lacks a shared, coherent, consistent theology, an internal mechanism of doctrinal control, and it is filled with mavericks who seem to be making it up as they go along in terms of attachment to Jewish accoutrements.

Some in the HRM are way over the edge in their denial of the Trinity and seem to know Jesus only in the flesh. As we will see, this movement is an idea, a view, an attitude, or a philosophy; a shared concept that Jewish traditions and Judaism are far superior for the church, a sure fire way to a deeper sanctification and with some, possibly even salvation.

It’s hard to define the HRM because it is so diverse and made up of so many disparate groups and individuals. It’s a moving target. It’s a vast smorgasbord of everything from scholarship, as in the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, to so-called Third Questers, to individuals practicing subjective pop (make-it-up-as-you-go) Judaism. It can even include the medieval mystical Kabbalah, with its esoteric numerology. More often than not there are no distinctions made between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant or between the Bible and the Talmud. This movement can impose legalism with a vengeance or in some instances may simply suggest Jewish practices that they say will give us deeper insight and understanding as well as make us more “authentic” believers.

Here, then, is a loose definition of the Hebrew Roots Movement. It is a very modern movement that insists that we must resurrect first-century Judaism (our Jewish Roots) and the milieu and lifestyle of first-century Jews and impose them on both Jewish and non-Jewish believers. This is not just an academic study to better understand Scripture and its setting but is rather a movement of restoration that claims that the church has moved off its Jewish foundation and must return to a more Jewish way of life to be authentic.

Although there is great benefit in studying the archaeology, geography, sociology, religion, and customs of the ancient biblical world, it does not follow that we must reinstitute and copy those times, replete with language, customs, and even dress.

It is obvious in much of the HRM that it’s not just the study of the first century for interpretation, information, and illumination that carries the day but keeping the traditions and practices of the Jewish Talmud, which was completed long after Jesus in the years 400-500 ( The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion , Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1965, p. 374). Actually, there are two Talmuds, namely the Babylonian Talmud and the Palestinian Talmud. The Talmuds vary in many of their customs, traditions, and practices.

Jewish believer Stephen Katz expresses his concerns when he says, “Much of the Jewish Roots Movement is actually based on later Jewish/rabbinic tradition. More importantly, the question of whether Gentiles need to add Jewish lifestyle and return to Jewish roots was settled by the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15. The remarkable news of the Gospel is that, in Y’shua, Jews and Gentiles have direct access to God” (“The Jewish Roots Movement: Flowers and Thorns,” March 1, 2001).

In practice, many promoters of the HRM draw their content more from Talmudic Judaism than from Old or New Testament Judaism. Acts 15 addresses head-on the relationship of Gentile believers to Judaism. The Apostle James told the Jewish believers that they should not disturb Gentile believers. In verse 19, James strongly commanded, “I judge that we [Jews] should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Then an official letter went out to the Gentiles reaffirming the decision: “Since we heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, ‘you must be circumcised and keep the law’—to whom we gave not such commandment” (v. 24). In other words, “Back off trying to make Gentiles into Jews!”

Messianic Jewish believer Stan Telchin sees the imposition of Jewish law and practice on Gentiles as one of the more troubling aspects of the Messianic Jewish Movement: “I know that the overwhelming majority of Jewish believers do not attend Messianic synagogues. It has been suggested that less than five percent of the Jewish believers in the United States attend them….Many Jewish people who I have brought to such synagogues have told me they felt as though they were looking at a caricature—an imitation and not the real thing” ( Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity , Chosen Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2004, p. 83).

If Telchin’s statistics are even close, it means that up to 95 percent of the attendees at Messianic synagogues are Gentiles and only 5 percent are Jews. This tells us that Gentiles are being “converted” to forms of Judaism that even many Jews reject. That turns Acts 15 on its head. The really big question that Hebrew Roots teachers must answer is, “Why are there far more Gentile believers than Jews in Messianic synagogues and Messianic fellowships?”

This imposition of Jewish practice on non-Jewish believers really does constitute a serious issue that promotes elitism, unnecessary division, wide confusion, and unbiblical practices. We can almost understand Jews who convert to Christ who still try to keep some of the cultural aspects and celebrations of their familial heritage. If their intentions and motives are not legalistic, and if these things are not done for salvation or out of religious elitism, there may be some minor benefit. Yet to impose them on Gentiles (as is the case, more often than not) is a direct violation of Paul’s words to the Colossians: “So let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (2:16-17). So Paul tells the Gentiles at Colossi that they are not to let anyone force Judaism on them. Didn’t Paul tell the Ephesians that saved Jews and Gentiles were now one new body and one new man—the church (Ephesians:3:1-8)?

We have already mentioned the very confusing practice of superimposing the later Talmud and Talmudic traditions on New Testament believers (Jew or Gentile). Isn’t this as serious as any of the extrabiblical books imposed on cult followers? Some of the Talmud has nothing to do with the New Testament and only reflects later Judaism without a land, a temple, a priesthood, or a sacrifice.

The Hebrew Roots Movement is cavalier and does nothing as far as the above cautions. The use of later rabbinical material must be done with much care, that is, sparingly and judiciously. We must be sure that it can be verified and corroborated by earlier or contemporary sources. It is our only safety. If we are unsure of a later source, would it not be dangerous to add it to the Bible (Revelation:22:18-19)?

One very important and urgent issue that the Hebrew Roots Movement never addresses is—which Judaism? This is the elephant in the room.

It would be more correct to speak of Judaisms. There were different streams of Judaism in the first century. Is it to be the religious Pharisees? And, if so, is it the school of Shammai or Hillel? Or is it the religion of the Sadducees? Why not the Judaism of the Zealots or the Herodians? Is it to be the Judaism of John the Baptist? Better yet, the purists—the separatists called the Essenes. As has been mentioned, any first-century Judaism of any stripe cannot be fully practiced since there is no temple, no priesthood, and no animal sacrifices. Some in the Hebrew Roots Movement seem to be enamored with modern Orthodox Jews. But the large and unanswered question is: which Orthodox group?

In the complex world of Jewish Orthodoxy, there are a myriad of competing groups with different dress and different traditions, all claiming to have their corner on the truth. A few of the somewhat cloistered groups in Jerusalem are the Ger Hassidic Dynasty, the Belz Hassidic Dynasty, the Karlin Stolin Hassidic sect, the Breslav Hassidic Dynasty, the Samar Hassidic Dynasty, the Chabad Hassidic sect, and the Neturi Karta. (For details, differences, and dynamics of these groups, see  The Mysteries of Jerusalem , Adam Ackerman, Multipress, Jerusalem, 2007, pp. 61-77). Which one is right?

There is an almost total ignoring by the Hebrew Roots Movement teachers of two-thirds of the New Testament, namely the Epistles of Paul (as well as the other Epistles). There is some tipping of the hat to selective pieces of Romans that in their view speak of Abraham and also of being grafted into Judaism, or Jewish Roots. It is clear that being grafted into Israel has to do with Abrahamic and Messianic blessings—not cloning or trying to act like Jews. These spiritual privileges are real spiritual and eternal blessings. They do not mean dressing up and pretending to be of some other nationality or religion.

Gentile believers have received the Word of God, the Messiah, and His salvation. Being grafted into Abraham’s blessings is as beautiful and as simple as Gib Martin and Larry Richards explain: “The olive tree…is a familiar and beautiful part of the landscape of Israel. It is a symbol of both strength and blessing. David penned in Psalm:52:8: ‘I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever’….Paul uses the branch of an olive tree to picture what God has done in grafting in the gentiles, the ‘wild olive tree’ (Romans:11:17) into the cultivated olive tree, Israel. In Paul’s metaphor, some of the olive tree’s branches were broken off and wild shoots were grafted into the tree. God was turning the Gentiles into fruit-bearing people….Paul is pointing them to the very source of their lives: God. God is the Keeper of the vineyard, the ultimate Gardener” ( The Book of Romans , Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2007, p. 168).

Ignoring the Epistles is one way to avoid a deluge of material about New Testament church life, church structure, church officers, church practices, and beliefs. It’s no wonder that those in Hebrew Roots have a truncated and skewed message. I say this with sadness.

What we are dealing with is both foundational and fundamental. Is it to be synagogue or church? The Jews had a practice that if anyone professed Christ they were to be thrown out of the synagogue (John:9:22). Yet those in the HRM would try to pretend that synagogues are good places to be—or at least to emulate or push their way back in. Can we merge church and synagogue? Should we? We need to remember that Jesus said clearly, “On this rock I will build my church.” He did not say, “I will build my synagogue.”

Is it to be law or grace? The Book of Galatians deals with that in great detail. However, as I said, the Epistles are neglected and ignored, and Galatians is skipped over. It is interesting to note that Paul told the Galatians that a trip back to Judaism indicated that they had become both “foolish” and “bewitched” (Galatians:3:1). The word “bewitched” is the Greek root  baskano , and it means to be allured and drawn into false doctrine.

Is it Old Covenant or New Covenant? If it was anything but New Covenant, Jesus would have never said at His last supper, “For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew:26:28). This is repeated in Mark:14:24 andLuke:22:20. The repetition must be there for a good reason. Jesus must have known that some would ignore much of the New Covenant or get the two covenants confused.

Is it the Passover or the Lord’s Supper? Paul reminded the Corinthians what the Passover stood for and what was really central: “For indeed Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians:5:7). It’s clear that all the Old Testament ceremonies, symbols, and feasts were types and shadows pointing to Jesus (Colossians:2:16-23, Hebrews:10:1-10).

Is it Saturday or Sunday? Saturday (the seventh day) was clearly attached to the finishing of the Old Creation (Genesis:2:1-3). Sunday, the first day of the new week celebrates the Resurrection and the new creation in Christ. Christians are a new creation (2 Corinthians:5:17).

Is it Jewish externals and superficial ritual purity or internal cleansing and heart purity? Psalm 51 answers that question clearly: “Sacrifice you did not desire or I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (vv. 16-17).

This brief article is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of the Hebrew Roots Movement. For now we are just asking questions. There are detailed larger articles and a book in production to examine in depth and detail the entire movement. We hope to offer corrections to many aberrant practices and deal more fully with some of the issues raised in this piece. Stay tuned.

 

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There is so much wrong with what this “Pastor” is saying. He lumps perceptions about political party allegiance (As if Christians are supposed to declare a public political allegiance to either of the fallen humanistic led American political parties)  in with a multitude of other errors.

What he displays is the classic Assembly of  God second generation “priestly class” humanist mentality. One that says “I was born into the AOG priesthood to an AOG Pastor and therefore it is my right and destiny to be in that class so I can lead people wherever I choose”.  This type of thinking is a cancer in the Assembly of God Ministry!

Everyone who reads this needs to look at your own church. Even if you have a pastor that preaches and teaches what is right and good NOW. If it is a situation where “the pastor is master” then 99% of those pastors will go down the road to error in order to maintain their “high place” instead of being scorned, shunned, and pushed aside for standing up for Biblical truth. Our churches heap praise on pastors and feed their humanistic egos which overtakes their love for the truth!

“God never intended for a Pastor to be a “King”. Sadly, this is what most congregations want just as Israel wanted a king. They want someone to tell them what to do instead of taking responsibility to do it themselves. They are satisfied to live their spirituality vicariously through the Pastor, their king. This Pastor has obviously taken on that role and is now leading an entire congregation into the depths of deception. It is absolutely heartbreaking!”

 

from The Sacramento Bee:

A Pentecostal pastor, a rabbi and an imam walk into a restaurant. Then they go to a synagogue. For Ramadan, Pastor Rick J. Cole of Capital Christian Center – one of the region’s oldest and largest fundamentalist churches – gave a sermon to about 500 Muslims and their friends at the Sunrise Event Center in Rancho Cordovaon Friday.

Cole, 56, was a featured guest on Imam M.A. Azeez’s weekly talk show, “Heart of the Matter.” The show has explored women’s rights, justice, self-expression and democracy in the Muslim world.

Cole, whose 98-year-old Assemblies of God church was long considered the most conservative in the region, has been reaching out to gays, Jews and now Muslims to break down barriers and biases. Cole joined Azeez and Rabbi Mona Alfi at Congregation B’nai Israel on June 18 to mark the 15th anniversary of the one of the most heinous – and ultimately unifying – events in Sacramento history, the pre-dawn firebombing of three Sacramento synagogues. Those blazes were followed by the firebombing of a building housing an abortion clinic and the murder of a gay couple – Gary Matson and and Winfield Mowder – while they slept in their Happy Valley home in rural Shasta County.

Cole, who replaced his father, the late Pastor Glen D. Cole, at the helm of Capital Christian Center in 1995, told the audience at B’nai Israel he’d been to Israel seven times and asked forgiveness of those he may have had been intolerant toward. “I’m now intolerant of people who are intolerant. I’ve got to figure out how to tolerate intolerant people,” Cole said. “We make things about issues instead of people,” he said, adding that he now has a growing number of gay congregants. As for those who don’t accept believers of different faiths or sexual orientation, “if they’ve got a problem, I’m not going to let it become my problem. They really need to talk to more people!”

Cole – whose church’s motto is “Truth, Growth, Love” – has 7,000 congregants, about 4,000 of whom attend one of his three Sunday sermons. Some of them speak in tongues. He oversees the 1,000 students at his church’s Christian school; serves on the board of Sacramento Steps Forward, a partnership addressing the needs of the region’s homeless; and provides help to inner-city schoolchildren through Equal Start. He also works with Champions, which assists special-needs families, and he supports the Center for AIDS Research.

What’s inspired you to step outside the box and reach across the aisle?

Rabbi Alfi, Imam Azeez and I started meeting for lunch at Plates (a restaurant that trains homeless moms) three years ago. Rather than assuming things about each other, we’ve developed a good friendship through direct communication. Too often we stereotype groups and determine this is the way everyone is within that group. There are many people of the Muslim faith who are not interested in violence. Often, they become characterized that way by 9/11 and other incidents that have occurred. There are far fewer Muslim people of faith who embrace extremism than those who are pushing it away. Imam Azeez has become a friend, I see him as a man of hopes and dreams for building a better world and not for tearing it down. The more common ground we can all find, and the more we learn about each other’s belief systems, the more we grow. Friday, I said, “I know the Quran is a great source of wisdom in understanding who God is. We share four of the five pillars of Islam: there is only one God; daily prayers; give to the poor and help the hurting; and fasting, self-control and self discipline.”

Your church has long been considered a bastion of conservatism. What’s changed?

We still lean toward a Republican ideology, but today we have strong representation across the aisle. We have a real passion for ethnic diversity, and people of other ethnicities often tend to adopt a more Democratic ideology. When we blend together different points of view, that’s quite important in challenging how we come together. … There are so many things that divide us ethnically, socioeconomically, spiritually. Part of my role and goal is to unify and honor people, bless people and affirm people.

In the 1980s, Capital Christian Center threatened to quit the Interfaith Service Bureau for admitting a gay-oriented church, and in the 1990s gay and bisexual protesters accused you of “a long history of anti-gay political activity and bigotry.” What’s happened since?

It’s something I’ve grown into the last five or six years. Life is a journey, and we should always be learning and growing along the way. It’s OK to have strong beliefs and convictions, but when we make that the only message, it becomes a dividing line that doesn’t help us build community with others who don’t see things quite the way we do. I had a revelation that God wants us to find ways to love people and not separate them. God’s heart of love for each of us is equal. Homosexuality’s still a complex subject and can cause some to be judgmental. I can maintain convictions but don’t have to impose those convictions on people who don’t share them.

If we take homosexuality as an issue, we dehumanize the person, and I don’t believe God ever does that. God loves each of us right where we are. In the past we have chosen to communicate a certain belief from scripture that homosexuality is not acceptable to God and push that way, instead of leading with, “God loves you and we do too.” I’ve adopted a love for gay people from my own heart, and we have a really great dialogue about faith and how we can encourage one another along the way. Our church has gone from where we wouldn’t know if we had any gay congregants to where we know we have at least several dozen, and instead of being afraid to come here, God wants us to make this a safe place for people to grow.

In 2009, you apologized to Christina Silvas, a former stripper who’d been asked to remove her children from your school in 2001, and to Ben Sharpe, an African American star student who was banned from eighth-grade graduation because his buzz cut violated school policy in 1995. Who are the intolerant you’ve got to learn to tolerate?

There’s a lot of intolerance when it comes to ideas – the political atmosphere in our country is so polarized. It would do us all good if we could have more conversations instead of accusations. Immigration is obviously a great concern – we have to have a heart of compassion for these children coming every day. The more grace we have for others, the more grace we receive. I’m concerned about those who want to make this issue non-human – these are precious people and we need to try and put ourselves in their shoes and practice empathy and see the world through their lens – ‘What if it were me?’ There are those who want to build a utopian world for ourselves. That’s not what we’re here for; we’re here to help each other.

It’s an evolving understanding of our role and how we pursue our place in the community. We aim to heal people who have walked through broken dreams, broken relationships, broken health, and give them a place to find hope and purpose. If we reach out to the hurting, the disadvantaged, the underserved, the overlooked, that’s more in the sweet spot on God’s heart. We have a really passionate outreach to the homeless, and we’re partnering with four inner-city schools, providing mentoring, tutoring, after-school care and encouragement. In the summer, we take kids … to places they’ve never been, ending up at various universities for a sit-down with administrators. My goal is to honor God, his truth and his creation. I’m not trying to push any buttons and create controversy. I really want to bring harmony.

 

 

 

 

 

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from Got Questions:

Every time there is a conflict in or around Israel, many see it as a sign of the quickly approaching end times. The problem with this is that we may eventually tire of the conflict in Israel, so much so that we will not recognize when true, prophetically significant events occur. Conflict in Israel is not necessarily a sign of the end times.

Conflict in Israel has been a reality whenever Israel has existed as a nation. Whether it was the Egyptians, Amalekites, Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Amorites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, or Romans, the nation of Israel has always been persecuted by its neighbors. Why is this? According to the Bible, it is because God has a special plan for the nation of Israel, and Satan wants to defeat that plan. Satanically influenced hatred of Israel—and especially Israel’s God—is the reason Israel’s neighbors have always wanted to see Israel destroyed. Whether it is Sennacherib, king of Assyria; Haman, official of Persia; Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany; or Rouhani, President of Iran, attempts to completely destroy Israel will always fail. The persecutors of Israel will come and go, but the persecution will remain until the second coming of Christ. As a result, conflict in Israel is not a reliable indicator of the soon arrival of the end times.

However, the Bible does say there will be terrible conflict in Israel during the end times. That is why the time period is known as the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, and the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Here is what the Bible says about Israel in the end times:

There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:24; 37:1-14).

The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of “peace” with Israel (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:27).

The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1).

The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 11; Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 24:15, 21; Revelation 12:13). Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).

Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8; Ezekiel 11:17; Romans 11:26).

There is much turmoil in Israel today. Israel is persecuted, surrounded by enemies—Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc. But this hatred and persecution of Israel is only a hint of what will happen in the end times (Matthew 24:15-21). The latest round of persecution began when Israel was reconstituted as a nation in 1948. Many Bible prophecy scholars believed the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967 was the “beginning of the end.” Could what is taking place in Israel today indicate that the end is near? Yes. Does it necessarily mean the end is near? No. Jesus Himself said it best, “Watch out that no one deceives you. . . . You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:4-6).

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