Hebraic Faith: A Walk, Not Just A Belief
by Christine Egbert
If I had to choose a theme song for what has come to be known as the Hebrew Roots Movement it would be The Days of Elijah. Here’s the opening stanza:
These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord,
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
The word that is translated as righteousness comes from the word righteous, which in Hebrew is “tsaddı̂yq”. This word occurs in the KJV some 206 times, and according to Strong’s Bible Dictionary it means “Just” and “lawful”, and you can be assured it refers to God’s Torah, His instructions on how to love Him and how to love our fellowman.
In these last days, we are experiencing that final move of God before Messiah returns. It is that time spoken of in Acts 3:20-21, when the Ekklesia—that called-out congregation (Come out of her MY People!)—is at long last beginning to walk in true revival, not in simple reformation (change), but resTORAtion!
After nearly 1, 700 years of Constantinian doctrine, God is rebuilding the old waste places and raising up the foundations of many generations. We have been called out of that Babylonian system to repair the breach and to restore paths to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12)
If “returning to the roots of our faith” is about anything, it is about declaring God’s Word (as it is written) and restoring His righteousness, His justice and lawfulness.
As Paul warned in Acts 20:29-30 “grievous wolves” entered among the disciples after his departure. Many of these grievous wolves hated everything they considered to be Jewish, even 2/3rds of the Bible they dubbed the “Old Testament”. This separated new believers in Yeshua from the Hebraic roots of their Messianic faith. Google “anti-semitic writings of the Church Fathers” and you can read their hate-filled, unbiblical rhetoric.
Not sparing the flock, these so-called Church Fathers spread unbiblical doctrines that severed believers from their first century faith, the faith that was once delivered to the Saints, the FAITH we are to contend for.
The most egregious breach occurred in the 4th century, when Rome’s Emperor Constantine changed God’s Sabbath to Sunday. Three-hundred and eighteen Bishops attended the Council of Nicaea, and all of them were Gentiles. Jewish believers in Yeshua were barred from attendance. (Had Yeshua’s twelve disciples still been alive at that time, they too would’ve been black-balled.)
Renouncing Lord YAHWEH’S instructions, attendees of the Councils of Nicaea & Laodicean replaced God’s Sabbath with Rome’s Sunday. God’s Holy Feast Days were tossed out, and holidays which the pagan world had been celebrating for centuries were canonized. All the Roman Catholic Church had to do was rename these pagan days, and they did. The birthday of the sun god Mithra became Christmas. Celebration of the day that Ishtar, a fertility goddess known in the Hebrew Scriptures (Jer 7:18) as Ashtoreth the Queen of Heaven, who was said to have landed in the Euphrates in a giant egg on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox (Ishtar Sunday), became known as Easter. Why? Because Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church wanted to “share nothing in common with the Jews” even if it meant changing God’s Appointed times. These and many other changes enacted by the Roman Catholic Church plunged civilization into what history now calls the dark ages.
Today, some 1,700 years later, at the end of days, we in the Hebrew Roots “move of God” have been called to repair that breach. We are seeking the old paths, where the Prophet Jeremiah (6:16) said, “the good way is.” Many still trapped in Constantine’s mutated form of worship accuse us, God’s people who’ve “come out of” that religious system of practicing legalism. The word legalism, however, is found nowhere in Scripture. It’s the commandments of men (like Christmas, Easter, and Sunday sabbath) the Bible warns us not to subject ourselves to.
Colossians 2:20-22 “Wherefore, if your are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances: Touch not; taste not; handle not! Which all are to perish with the using after the commandments and doctrines of men.”
Matthew 15:9 “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”… commandments like Christmas, Easter, and Sunday as the new Sabbath.
It is Scriptural (never wrong and always right) to keep God’s commandments, not man’s. It is wrong, however, to suppose one can be saved by keeping commandments. We are saved, and always have been, by grace through faith! There is no other way! But, we also need to understand exactly what Scripture teaches. For once we are saved–in covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–our Heavenly Father expects us to keep His commandments because we love HIM. This is not called legalism! This is called obedience, and obedience is always better than sacrifice.
Unlike Greek thinking, in Hebraic thought one cannot separate faith from faithfulness. In fact, Scripture links disobedience to unbelief, and declares faith without works to be dead.
(Deuteronomy 32:20) And He said: “I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as faith in the above verse is ‘êmûn. It is sometimes translated as faith and at other times as faithfulness, for in God’s way of thinking the two cannot be divided. If you have saving faith you are faithful to obey God. But for Christians separated for some 1,700 years from their Hebrew roots, most believers today see faith simply as a belief (with no action required). Yet, in the verse I cited above, God connects perverseness to lack of faith.
In the rest of this article I will use only God’s word itself, quoted and paraphrased, to prove that God expects His people to keep His commandments. It’s why He gave us His Holy Spirit (Rom 8:4). But sadly when the Church abandoned its Hebraic roots under the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, it veered off “the old paths where the good way is.” Today, after nearly 1,700 years of treading on that deviated trajectory, the majority of those claiming to be Christians live just like the world. Why? Because they have bought the lie that Jesus nailed His Father’s Law (instructions) to the cross, and they need no longer obey His Commandments.
BUT THIS IS WHAT GOD’S WORD PROCLAIMS:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness. Because in His forbearance God passed over the sins that were previously committed to demonstrate, at the present time, His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.
For He promised: I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.
For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. Put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, in meekness receive the implanted Word that is able to save your souls. For there is now no condemnation to those in Messiah Yeshua, who walk, not according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua set me free from the law of sin and of death. Because the Law was powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous demand of the Law might be fulfilled in us, those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the ones that are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh, and the ones according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, nor can it be.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. But my brothers, what gain is there for anyone who says he has faith but does not have works? Is that faith able to save him? Don’t you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so is faith without works. Do not be deceived! God is not mocked! Whatever a man sows: that will he reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter into his rest? It was to those who were disobedient. They were not able to enter in because of their unbelief.Watch then, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief that withdraws from the living God. But exhort yourselves daily, as long as it is called today, so that you are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Whoever commits sin transgresses the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Affliction and distress is for everyone who does evil, of the Jew first and of the Greek, but glory, honor, and peace be to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and to the Greek.
God is not partial. As many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. For in it (the Gospel of Christ) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH!”
From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament), which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
In all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours, and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Master, Yeshua Messiah! For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. He that says I know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Yeshua said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
It is not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another, and this is love that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. “For whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven,” Jesus said, “is My brother and sister and mother.”
In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. But in accordance with their hardness and their impenitent heart, they are treasuring up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds, eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also the Greek.
Again, I must remind you not to be deceived. God is not mocked! Whatever a man sows that he will reap. He who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous demands of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And I will declare, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
For it is the Lawless One, who is according to the working of Satan, with all unrighteous deception, that the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth. And who will be taken out of the way? Those who perish will be those who did not love the truth. They are exalted for a little while, then they are gone. They are brought low. They dry out like the heads of grain. For while men slept, the enemy sowed tares among the wheat. But the Master said to let both grow together until the harvest, then He will send the reapers, and say, “First gather the tares. Bind them in bundles to burn, and then gather the wheat into my barn.
The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness. Here is the patience of the saints, here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Blessed are those who do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.
List of Scriptures cited:
Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 11:6, Ezra 36:26-27, Deuteronomy 30:14-15, James 1:21, Romans 8:1-7, Romans 3:28, James 2:20, James 2:26, Gelatins 6:7-8, Hebrews 3:18-19, Hebrews 3:12-13, 1st John 3:4, Romans 2:9-13, Romans 3:27-31, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, James 2:21-23, 2nd Timothy 3:14-17, 2nd Peter 1:5-10, 1st John 2:4, John 14:21, Matthew 5:18-19, Matthew 22:37-40. 2nd John 1:5-6, Matthew 12:50, Acts 10:34-35, Romans 1:18, Romans 2:5-9, Job 24:24, 2Th 2:8-10, Matthew 7:22-24, Matthew 13:25, Matthew 13:29-30, Matthew 13:39-41, Revelation 4:12, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 22:14