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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 22:16:22 +1300
ANDREW's NOTE:  Below is an excellent study of this subject by
Jim Pruitt. We already discussed the dangers of the 'Hebrew Roots'
movement some time ago. I truly don't mind people calling Jesus
"Yeshua" - unless they want to force us all to do it. Paul certainly
wrote in Greek, and "Iesous" (or 'Jesus') was the word he used.
But Yeshua is fine too. However I certainly DO mind when people
start telling Gentile Christians to become "Torah Observant" - back
under the Old Law. This is deadly deception in my view - directly
opposed to the New Testament. But this movement has been
growing and we need to be aware of what the Bible clearly teaches
on this subject. Jim Pruitt's study below will help us do that-

-by Jim Pruitt.

Three issues have popped up in other areas within the public
arena and it is important to address them before they become
defacto doctrine. In the first century some of the Jewish Christians
sought to impose these behaviors on Gentile Christians and they
were addressed in several places in the New Testament (most
notably in Acts 15). They are the doctrinal view that all Christians
should worship on Saturday (as opposed to Sunday), should
abstain from non-kosher foods, and that the Jewish holidays and
festivals should still be observed. Adherence to these behaviors
were explicitly commanded by God of the Hebrews in the Old
Testament and most were from the book of Leviticus.

However, when Christ came He fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17-20)
and “things which were a mere shadow of what was to come” were
no longer applicable.

Here are verses which specifically address the Sabbath and Jewish
holidays and festivals:

    Colossians 2:16,17 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in
regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or
a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come;
but the substance belongs to Christ.

    Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another,
another regards every day alike Each person must be fully
convinced in his own mind.

    John 9:16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This
man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath "
But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform
such signs?" And there was a division among them.

    Mark 2:27 Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the  Sabbath.”

If you read these verses without preconception (i.e., without a
doctrine that you’re trying to rationalize), then their meaning is
perfectly clear and self-explanatory. It’s wrong to consider
someone as sinning because they don’t keep the Old Testament
definition of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is made for man. If you want
to consider every day holy then that’s fine. If you want to pick one
day or a series of days as above others to worship God, then that’s
fine, too. You won’t find any verses in the New Testament which
contradict this.

Here are verses which specifically address food (in addition to
Colossians 2:16,17):

    Mark 7:18-20 And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in
understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into
the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into
his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He
declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, "That which
proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.”

    1 Timothy 4:3-5 men who forbid marriage and advocate
abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully
shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything
created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is
received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of
God and prayer.

    Romans 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that
nothing is unclean in itself…

    Colossians 2:20-23 If you have died with Christ to the
elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the
world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle,
do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to
perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and
teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the
appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement
and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against
fleshly indulgence.

    1 Corinthians 8:8 But food will not commend us to God; we are
neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.

Again, these verses are self-explanatory and you will find nothing
in the New Testament which offers any contradictory stance
concerning food. Jesus declared all foods clean. The dietary
restrictions delineated in Leviticus no longer apply.

How Is It That You Compel The Gentiles To Live like Jews?

In Acts 15, Jewish Christians tried to get the Gentiles to follow
their traditions. However, after a heated discussion between those
who advocated having them observe Jewish customs and the
Apostles (including Paul), they only advised them to keep a
minimal set of rules. There was no mention of having them observe
the Sabbath, restricting their diet to kosher foods, or observing
Jewish holidays. In addition, in all of Paul’s epistles to the Gentiles,
there is no mention of it. In fact, I can find no indication in the New
Testament or in historical records of the early church of any time
where Christian Gentiles were instructed to do so. If it is not
mentioned much less commanded in the New Testament, why is it
important for us to reinstitute it now?

Looking at these three issues brings to mind Galatians 2 where
some Jews had secretly infiltrated the Gentile Christians in order
to “spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to
bring us into bondage.” When Paul met with the Apostles, Peter
began to refuse to sit or speak with the Gentiles (which he would
normally and which was against Jewish tradition) because he was
trying to keep from offending the Jewish Christians who were
present. But Paul wouldn’t let it slide:

    Galatians 2:13-16 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy,
with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their
hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about
the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If
you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how
is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews
by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but
through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus,
so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works
of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”

I find no evidence in the New Testament or in the early church
histories where Gentile Christians worshipped on Saturday, ate
only kosher foods, or observed Jewish holidays. Scripture clearly
indicates that these subjects are a matter of personal choice and
that we are not to allow anyone to try and bring us into bondage by
saying that God’s Word says otherwise.

Causing A Brother To Stumble

However, there is clear guidance concerning not offending someone
by what you eat or by what days you worship in Romans 14:

    Romans 14:2-4 One person has faith that he may eat all things,
but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not
to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one
who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has
accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his
own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is
able to make him stand.

    Romans 14:5,6 One person regards one day above another,
another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully
convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it
for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives
thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat,
and gives thanks to God.

    Romans 14:14-17 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus
that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to
be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your
brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not
destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not
let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the
kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

    Romans 14:20-23 Do not tear down the work of God for the
sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the
man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to
drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The
faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.
Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is
not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Personal Choice versus Doctrine

How should we interpret Romans 14 in light of the other scriptures
we find in the New Testament concerning food? Should we allow
doctrines such as we are discussing to be taught and promoted
without challenging them? If so, where does the deviation from
sound doctrine end? Hasn’t history taught us that error uncorrected
only increases in magnitude over time?

I think the key is in the phrase “one person.” Romans 14 is talking
about how to interact with a Christian brother who has made a
personal choice concerning diet or observance of one day over
another. If someone chooses to eat only vegetables or restrict
their diet in some other way because they believe it is better for
them, or they feel God leading them to do so for a time, or any
other personal reason then we should respect that. To try and get
them to eat something which they don’t want to (for whatever
reason) would be to try and cause your brother to stumble or sin
because they would be doing something that they believe is wrong.
The same goes for religious observances on certain days. If they
feel God leading them to pray, or study the Bible, or worship on a
certain day or days then we should respect that.

However, it is entirely another matter when someone begins to
teach their fellow brethren that God has commanded these
behaviors and to do otherwise is to disobey God. It then is no
longer a matter of respecting personal choice but a matter of
legalism and the “leaven of the Pharisees” creeping in to restrict
our liberty in Christ and begin to put us back into the bondage of
the law. Although its initial effects may be innocuous, such
thinking inevitably leads to further restrictions until at last we find
ourselves back trying to earn God’s favor through works.

All Things To All Men

One reason put forth as justification for such restrictions is that our
liberty gives offense to Jews and Muslims who still adhere to these
sorts of doctrines. Granted, it is entirely scriptural to avoid giving
offense to those of another culture or religion where it is possible
without disobeying God when trying to minister to that group:

    1 Corinthians 9:20-22 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I
might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law
though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those
who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without
law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of
Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak
I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things
to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

But to say that such restrictions are to be observed at all times as
a way of life in order to avoid offending anyone is to misrepresent
the meaning of the passage. Paul himself didn’t live like a Jew
except when he was trying to reach Jews. Paul didn’t stay “weak”
in order to avoid offending those who were weak but only when he
was trying to reach them.

What Does Christ-Like Mean?

Another rationalization given for these doctrines is that they make
you more “Christ-like” since these were behaviors that we believe
Jesus observed since he was, after all, Jewish. However, if that is
the reason for doing these things then where does it end? There
are many rituals and customs which were commanded by God in
the Old Testament and which were observed by the Jews of Jesus’
time. Are we now to say that God commands all Christians to
observe the following:

Christians are to be considered unclean and untouchable for period
of time after having had contact with a dead non-kosher animal (for
instance, touching bacon), during menstruation, after giving birth,
and after a seminal emission (Leviticus 11,12 and 15)

    * Women can’t wear men’s clothing and vice-versa
(Deuteronomy 22:5)
    * It is forbidden to wear a garment where wool and linen are mixed
(Deuteronomy 22:11)
    * You can’t eat the fruit of a tree for the first three years after you
plant it (Leviticus 19:23)
    * Anyone who works on the Sabbath shall be put to death
(Exodus 35:2)
    * Anyone who curses their mother or father, commits adultery,
or has sexual relations with someone in their immediate family or
of the same sex will be put to death (Levitius 20:9-13)
    * If you’re in fulltime ministry, then you can’t shave your head or
trim your beard (Leviticus 21:5)
    * If you have a garden or are a farmer, then every seventh year
you are forbidden from sowing any seed, gathering any crops, or
weeding and trimming (Leviticus 25:4,5)

These are just a handful of the restrictions found.  If the
commandments concerning observing the Sabbath only on a
certain day, eating only kosher foods, and observing Jewish
festivals are still in effect then it stands to reason that all the others
are also still in effect. Isn’t it hypocrisy to pick out one or two and
choose to just obey them? Isn’t that part of the “leaven of the
Pharisees” that Jesus spoke against?

There are many aspects of Jesus’ life which differs from most
people today. Unlike Jesus, most of us drive when going long
distances, have homes and mortgages, bathe daily, and use
deodorant. It is obvious to even a casual student of the Bible that
trying to be “Christ-like” means to emulate His character and not
his cultural customs.

The Appearance of Wisdom

There is something in our “old self” (Colossians 3:9) which longs
for religious ritual and self-abasement. It has to do with the same
reason that Christ and salvation by grace is a stumbling block to
those of other religions and non-Christians. We have trouble
accepting the fact that there isn’t something which we can do to
earn our own salvation. If we can do things to show how pious we
are, then we can feel better about ourselves. It’s all part of a
“works” mentality (Ephesians 2:8,9) and helps to feed the most
common of sins… pride.

The pride we take in how devout we are is something which all the
other religions of the world can relate to. Those who sincerely seek
to follow those religions must by nature focus on discipline and
what they can outwardly achieve. When your spiritual future is
entirely up to what you can accomplish by the force of your own
will then you can count on many tasks and rituals being required
so that you have a means of measuring your success. Again, this
is one of the reasons that followers of other religions hold much of
Christianity in such contempt because we insist that we are saved
by grace alone and that there is nothing we can do to merit it.

Within Christianity, the concept of being saved by grace alone
often causes people to stumble into extremes at both ends of the
spectrum. On the one hand, you find those who believe they have
their “fire insurance” so they can pretty much do what they feel is
right (often phrased as “being led by the Spirit” in order to make it
sound spiritual). On the other, there are those who set out to offset
that very perception and go right past sanctification and wind up in
the same techniques used by other religions to curry God’s favor.
Of course, we should be led by the Spirit but the Holy Spirit will
never lead you to ignore the Word of God. And we should seek
sanctification as we continue in the process of repentance and
maturity but that doesn’t mean seeking to revive restrictions from
the Old Testament which the New Testament has removed. Doing
so may have the “appearance of wisdom” (Colossians 2:23 ) but is
actually just a step towards putting yourself back into the bondage
of the Law.


There appears to be a wider (and more bizarre) variety of false
doctrines among Pentecostals and Charismatics (which I consider
myself a member of). I think the reason for this is that we have
swung more towards the experiential in our efforts to know God
and have begun to neglect the Word of God. The Word of God
should be our standard against which we measure any experience
or compulsion which we believe is from the Spirit. If we did so,
then many of these aberrations could be avoided.

    1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the
spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false
prophets have gone out into the world.

In summary, we need to respect the personal choices of our fellow
Christians even if we find no Biblical basis for them as long as they
do not actually conflict with God’s Word. However, when false
doctrines begin to be taught which go beyond personal choice and
declare that God has commanded something which His Word
contradicts, then we need to address it before it multiplies and
mutates. Satan (although better known for his tactical methods
eliciting immediate gratification) has been around for thousands of
years and acts strategically as well. He can take the long view to
achieve his means and, failing to get us to abandon our faith
outright, he will use methods both subtle and gross in an attempt
to bend our passion for God. Remember, brothers that each
bizarre doctrine, sect, and denomination which is in the world
today started but with a single man.

    Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.

    Galatians 5:1-4 It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke
of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive
circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again
to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under
obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from
Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen
from grace.

    Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law,
having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in
newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

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