A Sinister Trend in the Torah Movement?

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of this week in the Word here on Our Journey, I’m your host Bert Starzer. Today’s topic is there a sinister trend occurring within the Hebrew root and Torah movement.
Before I begin, let me state that the views I’m about to share are revelations that have come to me from the Holy Spirit over a six plus year period of studying the word of God deeply. I do not believe I am more righteous or knowledgeable than anyone when it comes to the Hebrew root of the Christian faith. This is a topic that has been close to my heart for the reason, it’s the direction that I believe the Lord led me about 5-6 years ago. However, lately I’ve also seen a devious trend that’s beginning to take place. I’m not saying that people are purposely moving toward error, but anytime one strays from the Rock on which all faith is to be built upon, namely Jesus the Messiah, and begins to entertain a righteousness that comes from keeping the law or attempting to live in two covenants error is bound to enter.
One more clarification before I begin, I believe the law of God/Torah is still to be taught. I believe much of what has happened to the western church is due to a gradual sliding away from teaching the law and instead a diet of hyper grace has been fed to the body over many years. The result of hyper grace has led to divorce rates being the same within the church as it is in the world. Teen pregnancy and abortion rates nearly the same. Fornication, adultery, as well as the viewing of pornography is nearly the same in the western church today as it is in the world. Is it any wonder then why the church no longer has any influence? Jesus stated in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” And that’s exactly what we see. Christians being trampled on by mankind.
Regarding the law and the prophets, Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5:18-20 “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.  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Seven years ago, this coming November 2019, God touched my heart in a supernatural way. If you want to hear my testimony, please look for it in my past videos on the Facebook page @bnatlourjourney. Once God touched my heart, He began filling it with a hunger for His word. As a result, I began reading and studying the bible every day. And it was while I was reading John 17:11-12 “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Those verses led me to look into Gods Hebrew name and from there the Hebrew name of Jesus which is Yeshua and means salvation. And from this point forward instead of calling Jesus the Christ, I began calling Him, Yeshua HaMashiach and Yeshua the Messiah. I still use Jesus as well.
Now, I’m going to reference back to the earlier verse from Matthew 5:20, “that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
This got me to begin examining Torah and specifically was I keeping the 10 commandments and especially was I observing the sabbath or Shabbat as the sabbath is known to the Jewish people.
These things had never entered my mind up until this time and in fact I don’t remember them being taught very frequently when I was going to church as a kid with my parents. No one spoke of the law. It was spoken of as ancient history, because now we have grace. What I discovered however, by practicing Shabbat I did feel God bless it and bless me.
From the sabbath I began examining other areas such as holidays and the Lords feast days, etc., but those are another topic for another time. So, let’s fast forward.
Late last year I began noticing somethings within the Hebrew root movement that at first didn’t alarm me, such as, I noticed women covering their heads with scarfs, not wearing makeup, men growing out their beards, wearing tzeit-tzeit and most beginning to follow the dietary laws given in Torah. While all that seems innocent on the surface it was a video regarding Torah that confirmed what the Holy Spirit had been speaking to me and the reason I felt led to share this with you.
During the video the orator made mention, at least two times, about the “quote unquote Jews” while also referencing Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
From this I can only surmise there is a belief within the movement that there are no longer any Jews or perhaps there are no more promises for the Jews? There may be some within the movement that believe since they have been grafted in and are now a part of spiritual Israel, they have taken the place of God’s chosen people? Or they may feel compelled to begin once again keeping the law that was given to the Jews.
Remember in Romans 9:1-5 Paul wrote, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,  that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,  who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;  of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
He is referencing of course God’s children of the flesh, not those of the promise, the children of faith.
Honestly, all of this is simple speculation on my part, however the movement has begun to bear the fruit of replacement theology and spiritual pride.
As a result, I can’t help but feel that many within the movement may be placing an unbearable yoke upon themselves as well as any new converts and in my opinion this is very dangerous. Let me explain why allowing righteousness to come through the law is dangerous and honestly not realistic.
Living by the law does not bring life. We must live by the Spirit and in the spirit of the law in order to be truly free.
Romans 8:1-4 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,  that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
For those not familiar with Torah, there are “613 commandments (mitzvot) in the Torah; 248 Positive Commandments (do’s) and 365 Negative Commandments (do not’s).” https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/756399/jewish/The-613-Commandments-Mitzvot.htm
Please feel free to click the above link to view all of them.
That’s an awful lot of laws to remember. Now, while listening to the video, the man admitted that he doesn’t keep the commandments every day, and admitted to breaking them every day, however, he also said that we should still strive to keep them.
Let’s reference back to one of the movements favorite scriptures to quote Matthew 5:18-20 “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…”
Let’s stop there. Did you get that? Whoever breaks the least of one of these commandments.
In James 2:10 we’re told, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
So, stumble in one part and you’re guilty of breaking all 613 commands. This is a yoke that no one can bear. And it’s the reason behind my message today.
What I believe has been overlooked is living by the Spirit and living in the spirit of the law.
In 2 Corinthians 3:17 we read, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
And in Romans 7:14 we read “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
In John 4:24 Jesus taught, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
And back to Romans 8:4, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
So, my question for you today is simple, have you been led back into the physical requirements and bondage of the law or are you living in complete freedom as you follow the Spirit of the law? My prayer is that you are experiencing the latter.
So, what is the Spirit of the law? Let’s first look at the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV
1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
6 “You shall not murder.
7 “You shall not commit adultery.
8 “You shall not steal.
9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
In Mathew 22:36-40 we read where a young man came and asked Jesus a question. He asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said to him, “‘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.”
Now, in the video I mentioned earlier, the man listed every single commandment and verse as it related to what Jesus said. However, he missed the spirit of what Jesus said.
Look at the first four commandments. Every single one is kept by loving the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength.
The following six commandments are kept by also loving the Lord, but also by loving others as much or more than we love ourselves.
Remember, Jesus also taught in John 15:12-13 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”
When we place the needs of others above our own it’s easy to keep the final six commandments.
Where I believe we have missed the mark yet again is we have decided to go back to the law as a means of validating ourselves, instead of doing what Jesus commanded us to do, which was simply to die to ourselves.
Isn’t it easier to point to a list of rules and say, “see I’ve kept all those, but that person hasn’t?” Or perhaps it’s easier to pound our chests and say, “look God, I’ve kept your laws. Brownie points for me.”
But what did Jesus say? He said all the law and PROPHETS. While I’ve heard many speak about keeping Torah, they have neglected to mention the prophets.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt— a covenant they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
Ezekiel 36:26-27 reads, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and to carefully observe My ordinances.”
And if there were any question regarding replacement theology, honestly, I don’t have the time to go through all the scripture that supports the Jewish people as God’s chosen people and that He still has plans for them, and that Israel will be saved. However, in Zechariah 8:23 it reads, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
So where have we missed it? How or why did so many begin to choose living under the law once again?
Personally, I believe the answer is twofold. I believe God has moved upon the hearts of many believers and He is drawing them back to Himself. Many are tired of the hypocrisy they have seen within the main line denominations. Many have begun to truly study their bibles and take God at His word. All of this is an amazing testimony to the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach. However, in our zeal for God, I believe we have begun to stray from the Spirit and the things of the Spirit. Because of the abuses of the gifts of the Spirit that has occurred over the last couple of decades many don’t see them as relevant or they dismiss the gifts and the person of the Holy Spirit all together and this leads to an immature Christian, and a distortion of doctrine.
Jesus said in Mathew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
The first question we need to answer is how much do we love Jesus? Are we truly loving Him with every ounce of our being? And what can be an indicator of this love?
Romans 13:8-10 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”     After reading those scriptures let me ask you. Are you in love with Jesus? Are you loving Him as He has required us to love Him? Some may say, “huh?”
Love bears all things. When we are being tested do we whine and cry out, “Why God?” or are we bearing it knowing that it is for our good.
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
See, I personally believe we have fallen out of love with our Lord. The fruit is we would much rather turn back to rules and regulations in order to point out how righteous we are, instead of dying to ourselves daily. It’s easy to follow rules. It’s much more difficult to die to your personal agenda and instead allow God to place His agenda within your heart.
It’s easier to trust in a set of written rules then to walk by faith and in certainty that the Creator of the universe has written His law and ordinances upon the heart of flesh He created within you, if you have been born again.
The spirit of the law is simply this, loving the Lord with all we have and all we are, loving Him more than anyone else in our lives. Loving Him more than our jobs, our material wealth, or things, more than our accolades, and simply put more than our very lives, once we do this, then we will enter into an area that is found only by grace through the Holy Spirit, an area I’m thankful and blessed to have discovered which is living in the spirit of the law and living in the Spirit of God.
To all who I may have offended who observe Torah, it’s not my intention to offend. I don’t desire to create or be a stumbling block. If Torah is how God is leading you, then follow Him. However, I believe it’s only wise to question your motive for following Torah, and what is the fruit of Torah that you are experiencing?    I would also caution on following any teaching that would even hint at a replacement theology.
Remember, God still has plans for the Jews. Gentiles have not replaced them, nor will they ever replace the Jews. Israel will be saved.
The law is perfect and never changing, the same as God. And it needs to be preached, along with the Prophets, to the unbeliever as well as the believer. However, once we repent and are born again there needs to come a time in which we spiritually mature. A maturity that leads us into becoming true worshipers of God. Those who worship in Spirit and truth. And by that I don’t simply mean lifting our hands or dancing around, I mean truly offering our lives daily as a spiritual sacrifice in love to the One who gave it all for us. Everything is done by grace through faith.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Simply put, let us begin loving Jesus on His terms, and not our own.
In closing I’ll leave you with these two scriptures.
Colossians 2:16-19 “So let no one judge you in food or in 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. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”
Romans 14:4-5 “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.”
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May He turn His face toward you and give you His Shalom.
Blessings in Yeshua/Jesus.

2 thoughts on “A Sinister Trend in the Torah Movement?

  1. Correction: Judaism says there are 613. I’ve been through every single one of those and there are duplicates and redundancies in that count. Also, I’ll point out that not every law applies to everybody. There are those for men, those for women, those for farmers, those for priests and so on.
    It’s just way too easy to conflate Hebrew Roots and Messianic with Judaism–and therefore, we see a lot of folks sliding off the other side of the narrow road.
    It’s also too easy to conflate “Jews” and “Israel” or to consider Israel simply a patch of land at the east end of the Mediterranean. All 12 tribes were at the foot of Mt. Sinai, along with a mixed multitude who had left Egypt with them. All are considered equal there. There are something like 25 verses that say if someone want to join “Israel” they are under the same, no more, no less. Faith is what creates an Israelite: Yahshua called out the religious of the day for saying they were “sons of Abraham” by saying YHWH could make rocks into sons of Abraham (a direct reference to our origin in the dust!)(in a rather colorful wordplay in Hebrew, too.)

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