by Wes White
It’s dangerous to Christianity when people want to add things to the instructions that we’ve already been given in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. One example is where people want to add holidays to Christianity that aren’t found in the Bible when God has already given us His days to celebrate. Another example is where some religious leaders want to create a hybrid religion where they combine the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of first-century Judaism. And when they do this, they’re creating a hybrid religion.
This hybrid religion is sometimes referred to as Hebrew Roots. And we’re not talking about Jews who have converted to Christianity. Rather, we’re talking about non-Jews who are Christians who want to follow elements of what the Pharisees taught. They are combining Christianity with first century Judaism. Again, a hybrid.
And they base their approach on the following premise: They say that there is not only the written Torah. (Remember that the written Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.) They say that, in addition to this written Torah, there is also an oral Torah. That is, they say that God gave Moses a bunch of oral instructions that were handed down by Moses from generation to generation and eventually made it to the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. These folks say that this oral Torah was binding on the people during Jesus’ time and that it’s binding on Christians today. They feel that first-century Judaism is a continuation of the religion of the Old Testament.
But they’re wrong. First-century Judaism was an aberration.
Exodus 24:3 shows us that Moses related to the Israelites all the words that the Lord had spoken to him. And verse 4 says, “All the Words which the Lord hath said we will do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord and rose up early in the morning and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of the Lord.”
These words that are talked about in Exodus 24 comprise the first five books of the Bible. There were no extra oral Torah teachings that needed to be orally handed down from generation to generation. Everything that God told Moses was written in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Also, it’s important to note that, when Jesus argued with the religious leaders of His day, He never did away with the Old Testament Law—which is the written Law. His argument was with what the religious leaders had added—the oral law—to the Old Testament Laws. Jesus didn’t come to improve Judaism or to make it a better religion. He came to bring out the full meaning of the Law and the Prophets, thus fulfilling and completing the Abrahamic Faith.
I recently gave a sermon on the subject of Hebrew Roots. It is at the bottom of this article. I hope you watch it.
Also, CGI makes it a practice to work with other ministries. We enjoy working with our brethren at Christian Education Ministries (CEM) which is headed by Ron and Allie Dart. And we would like to recommend a book published by CEM as an additional resource on this subject. It’s called, “Digging Up Hebrew Roots. Is This the Faith Once Delivered?” It was written by Ronald Dart and Pam Dewey. You can get it by visiting their website borntowin.net and visiting their store.