In Nazarene Israel we saw that although Yeshua was sent to establish a replacement for the rabbinical order, He nonetheless taught us to think of Him as our one-and-only Rabbi (or Teacher).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:8
8 “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Messiah, and you are all brethren.”
What does it mean that Yeshua taught us to think of Him as our one-and-only Rabbi (or Teacher)?
Halachah: Walking as Your Teacher Walked
In a Western university, one approaches one’s teacher only for intellectual knowledge. However, in Judaism, one seeks to imitate and emulate one’s teacher in prayer, in worship, and in every aspect of life.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:1
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.
Why? The Hebraic concept is that Yahweh gives special revelation knowledge and anointing either to a man (such as Moshe or Shemuel), or to a small group of men (such as the apostles)—and then it is up to every man who loves Yahweh to seek him (or them) out, and to disciple with him (or them). This is called walking as your teacher walks, so that one becomes like him in every way. This is clearly how Scripture says to interact with Yeshua.
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 2:6
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
In today’s time, this means discipling with the Nazarene sect. This also has the added benefit of forming the global spiritual kingdom Yeshua desires.
Discipleship: What Comes from Walking
The concepts of imitating, walking, and discipling are all interrelated. In Hebrew, the word walk is halach (הלך), and it refers to how one lives and worships. It refers to how one “walks out the Torah (in love).”
The derivative word halacha (הֲלָכָה) means “what comes from walking”, which in Hebraic thought is discipleship. That is because a disciple “follows after” his teacher (walking in his footsteps, as it were).
Although Yeshua is our ultimate example, disciples should also have an earthly point of discipling (like the Apostle Timothy had Shaul). This kind of discipleship is what establishes connection and unity within the body.
Orthodox Jews study their teachers’ words, and while they also imitate their teachers. We do the same, but Yeshua gives us a Helper which they do not have, which is His Spirit of Truth. Yeshua tells us to ask, seek, and knock for the gift of His Spirit, and to keep asking, seeking, and knocking until we receive it. Then, once His Spirit dwells in us, and we abide in Him, and He in us, we can begin to speak according to His words, and do the things that Yeshua would do, because it is no longer us who moves us (but His Spirit).
Yochanan (John) 15:4-8
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Once Yeshua’s Spirit dwells in us, then we can go to the synagogues and hear the Torah being taught, which helps us to be conformed to Yeshua’s perfect example (which is the true goal of Torah).
Whose Halacha is the Right Halacha?
In Moshe’s (Moses’) time the nation was united because of Yahweh. There was also a single halacha because Yahweh told Moshe how to direct the people. This is thought to be the ideal condition for the nation, is that Yahweh directs the nation through a single leader (or in Renewed Covenant times, through a small group of leaders), and everyone walks out the commandments the same way (with the same halacha).
Of course, today there are many different leaders in Israel, and none of them have the same stature as Moshe. Because none of them have the respect of all the people, the nation can only be unified by a secular democratic government. However, this kind of power-sharing strategy is of Babylon (in that power is divided among more than one ruler). Such internal division results from the people being confused, and it also causes still more confusion.
Although the ideal is to have a single halacha, the problem is that unregenerate men always think their ideas are best. Therefore, each sect considers itself to be the true faith, and every other sect is thought to be what is called a min (מן), meaning a sect, a departure, or a heresy. That is why the Pharisees accused the Apostle Shaul of being a ringleader of the sect (מן) of the Nazarenes in Acts 24:5, was simply because he taught something other than what they taught.
Ma’asei (Acts) 24:5
5 “For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect [מן] of the Nazarenes.”
Since the Pharisees made this accusation before the Romans, Shaul simply replied that his sect also believed all things which are written in the Torah and the Prophets—only that the Nazarenes believed in walking out the commandments a different way. That is, the Nazarenes had a different halacha.
Ma’asei (Acts) 24:14
14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the way [הֲלָכָה] which they call a sect [מן], so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Torah and in the Prophets.”
The brilliance of Shaul’s answer was in pointing out that since both sides believed in the Torah and the Prophets, the question was simply whose halacha was correct. This was of no interest to the Romans, and yet the question should be of intense interest to all Israelites, because ultimately it is a question of who gets to set the halacha—Yeshua, or someone else?
The Struggle for the Person of Yeshua Messiah
As we mentioned earlier, in Hebraic thought, Yahweh typically communicates with Israel through a prophet (or prophets), who communicate Yahweh’s message. Then it is up to everyone who loves and fears Yahweh to obey what Yahweh has communicated.
The problem with the Pharisees (i.e., Orthodox Jews) is that while they say they believe Moshe was such a prophet, they do not act like it, because rather than teach what Yahweh said through Moshe, they teach that Yahweh gave Moshe the authority to establish Torah in his generation—and that Moshe then passed this authority to establish Torah to Joshua, and eventually this authority made its way to the rabbis. The problem is that this violates what Yahweh said to do. Further, it also requires a power-sharing agreement, in that the Orthodox halacha is established by majority rule.
In contrast, the Nazarenes believe that Yahweh gave His Torah through Moshe—but that because the rabbis no longer walked according to it, Yahweh sent His Son Yeshua to replace them with a renewed Melchizedekian order. The mission of this new priesthood was to go into all nations, and immerse (baptize) disciples in Yeshua’s name (basically, into His body), and to teach them to obey all things that Yeshua had commanded (i.e., to obey Yeshua’s halacha).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name,
20 teaching them to observe [obey] all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.
(To understand why we only immerse in Yeshua’s name, see “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Only”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.)
Now consider that at its deepest level, our struggle with the Orthodox Jews is over who has the authority to set halacha for the nation (them, or Yeshua). And because the Orthodox deny Yeshua’s deity, we are involved in a struggle over the person of Yeshua Messiah.
But What About the Christians and Messianics?
Now, if we have a struggle with the Orthodox (and the Karaites) over the person of Yeshua Messiah, we have a similar struggle with the Christians and the Messianics. That is because the Christians and the Messianics have different ideas about who the person of Yeshua Messiah is.
Both sides agree that Yeshua was divine, but Nazarene Israel says that Yeshua Messiah was a Jew who taught Judaism—and since the faith He taught was Judaism, there is a continuing need to obey His halacha.
In contrast, the Christians call themselves “spiritual Israel” (which is a term not found in Scripture). They will typically claim that the Torah is abolished, and most of them have no idea what halacha even is.
The Messianics will typically say that the Torah was not done away with, but most of them dispute the need for a single binding authoritative halacha, because they do not understand the need for the nation to behave as one man. This is because, like Christianity, the Messianic faith is also Babylonian, and is therefore base on the concept of reigning through confusion.
The key to resolving these many issues is to see that Nazarene Israel and the Christian-Messianic spectrum are two separate-yet-parallel faiths.
Separate-Yet-Parallel Faiths in the First Century
In Nazarene Israel we saw that in the first century, while there were some Nazarenes, there were many more believers who did not obey the Torah (Matthew 7:21-23, 2 Peter 3:17, etc.), or who did not disciple with Yeshua, walking just as He walked.
Although the disciples were not called by the Hellenistic term Christian until Acts 11:26, the first Messianic (or Hellenistic Christian) appears in Mark 9:38. There Yochanan (John) tells Yeshua that there was a believer who was casting out demons in His name, but who was not following Him (not keeping His halacha).
Marqaus (Mark) 9:38
38 Now Yochanan [John] answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
It is often said that when a Jew reads the Renewed Covenant, it is as if he is reading an entirely different book than the Christian reads, because he understands the Jewish context. In that light, two scholarly teams in the nineteenth century translated the Renewed Covenant into idiomatic first century Hebrew. Salkinson and Ginsburg issued their version in 1891, while Dalman and Delitzsch issued their version in 1892. Both translate the phrase “does not follow us” as “lo halakh ahareinu” (לֹא־הָלַךְ אַחֲרֵינוּ), meaning, “he does not walk after us.” That is, he was not keeping Yeshua’s halacha.
Mar 9:38 Dalman and Delitzsch
ויען יוחנן ויאמר אליו רבי ראינו איש מגרש שדים בשמך ואיננו הולך אחרינו ונכלאנו יען אשר לא־הלך אחרינו׃
Mar 9:38 Salkinson and Ginsburg
וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹחָנָן אֵלָיו רַבִּי רָאִינוּ אִישׁ מְגָרֵשׁ רוּחוֹת רָעוֹת בְּשִׁמְךָ וַנִּכְלָא אֹתוֹ מִפְּעֻלָּתוֹ אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָלַךְ אַחֲרֵינוּ׃
The disciples probably stopped the Messianic because he was not in a discipleship relationship with Yeshua, and was therefore not helping to fulfill Yeshua’s goal of building a unified global body. While Yeshua said not to stop him, it should be clear that this Messianic was not helping to establish Yeshua’s unified global kingdom, and therefore his ultimate reward will be much less than that of the true disciples.
Messianic Israel and the Church: in Babylon
Now let us realize that the Messianic in Mark 9:38 may have called himself a Nazarene, and he probably also thought of himself as a true disciple. However, he probably looked more like one of today’s Messianic Israelites. He probably rested on Sabbath and feasts, and he probably talked about keeping the Torah, but he probably only kept part of it. We can be sure that he did not have Yeshua’s Spirit, because if he had had Yeshua’s Spirit, he would have joined the disciples.
In “The Ahab and Jezebel Spirits” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 5) we saw that those with a Jezebel or an Ahab spirit probably do not realize that they have an unclean spirit—and that this is true of most people who have demons. They do not realize they have demons, or they would have already sought to be delivered. And in this light, we should talk about the heresy of the so-called “Christian Roots” movement.
The Heresy of “Christian Roots”
“Christian Roots” is a catchy name used by an unnamed Messianic pastor. He likes to justify his use of the term on the basis that torahless Christians embrace the term Christian Roots more readily than they embrace the term Hebrew Roots. That is, he likes it because it is a clever marketing ploy. The only problem is that it is not true: the original faith does not have “Christian Roots.” It only has a Jewish Root.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 22:16
16 “I, Yeshua, have sent My messenger to testify to you these things in the assemblies. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
As we saw in “Differentiating from Babylon” and also in “The Ahab and Jezebel Spirits” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 5), believers and teachers who have demons rarely realize that they have them. If you ask them if they have a demon, they will deny it. Therefore we must do our due diligence, and inspect the fruits. If the fruit is good then the tree is likely good, but if the fruit is bad then the tree is likely also bad—and promoting Babylonian Christian doctrine is terribly bad fruit.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:15-20
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
If the fruit is bad, our job is to call the bad fruit out, and to pray for the bad tree, that it may be made good.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 12:33
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”
One of the worst fruits of “Christian Roots” is that it seeks to make Babylonian Christian theology seem normal.
As we show in Nazarene Israel and other places, the original faith was called the (Jewish or Israelite) sect of the Nazarenes. This was a 100% Jewish and Israelite faith. In contrast, the (Babylonian) Catholic Church tells the world that it was Christianity (not Nazarene Israel) that was the original faith.
It may not seem nice, but when we inspect spiritual fruits, we must notice similarities. So let us ask ourselves, why does Christian Roots theology promote the idea that the roots of the faith are Christian (rather than Jewish), like the (Babylonian) Christian Church does? Could it be that the same Babylonian spirit is at work in both?
Alternately, if the same Babylonian spirit is not at work, then why is the same lie being taught? These questions may seem uncomfortable, but they are necessary, and fair.
Further, if Christian Roots is not of Babylon, then why are there women teachers, as in many Babylonian Christian Churches? (For details, see, “The Ahab and Jezebel Spirits”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 5.)
The Dragon’s Flood of Counterfeit Waters
Revelation 12:15-17 tells us that the dragon (Satan) is enraged with the bride of Messiah, and spews a flood of waters out of his mouth, trying to carry her away. This flood of waters represents the false doctrines of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Protestant Church, the Independent and House Church movements, and the Messianic movement. And we might well add so-called “Christian Roots” to this chart as the furthest advance of the dragon’s flood of lies.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 12:15-17
15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.
16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Yeshua Messiah.
Here is the same information in a different form, showing how the faith progressed outside the land of Israel. Notice the sharp differences between the last two boxes on the bottom left row, highlighting the differences between Messianic Israel and the original Nazarene Israelite faith.
“Christian Roots” may be an intermediate step between Messianic Israel and Nazarene Israel, in “Christian Roots” seems to teach a need for organization (even if the style of organization that it teaches is incorrect). We can perhaps thank Yahweh for the intermediate step of advancement, but we also must be on guard against Satan’s counterfeits, because as long as His people practice anything other than the original Nazarene Israelite faith, and are unifying and organizing according to the halacha, they are not yet practicing the faith Yeshua taught—and they are not yet in Yeshua’s favor.
Close Counterfeits and “Scattering Abroad”
It is said that when counterfeiting a priceless art object, or when making counterfeit money, one wants to make the counterfeit look as much like the original as possible, so that people are fooled into thinking that it is the original. This is a good analogy for “Christian Roots.” This also helps to explain why Yeshua said that he who is not with Him is against Him, and that he who does not gather with Him scatters abroad.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 12:30
30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
Messianics may get excited that another false faith is set up, which looks more like the original faith, but what this really is, is a more-clever forgery. And we have no need of forgeries, but only of the real thing.
Allow the Sheep: Deny the False Shepherds
In Acts 6, the Nazarenes welcomed the Hellenistic-minded believers (who did not truly obey the halacha) to come learn, and they even included them in the daily distribution (although sadly, some were overlooked).
Ma’asei (Acts) 6:1
1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.
However, at the same time, Scripture also makes clear that although Hellenistic sheep can enter into our assemblies (to help draw them and their children away from dangerous heresies), no one who taught a different faith should ever be allowed to teach. Rather, if he was teaching a different doctrine than the one Yeshua originally taught, he should be shunned, and even accursed.
Galatim (Galatians) 1:6-9
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the favor of Messiah, to a different Good News,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Good News of Messiah.
8 But even if we, or a messenger from heaven, preach any other Good News to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other Good News to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
If we think that the same spiritual forces of darkness that were at work against Yeshua’s faithful in the first century are not at work against Yeshua’s faithful today, then we need to rethink what we might think we know about the spirit realm, because the spirit realm has not changed. All the same demons and spirits that besieged Yeshua’s faithful in the first century are still at work today (only with different names).
And while we educate ourselves against Satan’s clever counterfeits, and while we call out the bad Babylonian fruit, let us remember to pray for those who bear the bad fruit, that Yahweh might give them repentance unto life.
And unless and until they do repent, let no one steal your crown.
He who has ears, let him hear.