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Messianic Judaism | A Growing Deception

Replacing Truth with Modern Pharisaism

 

Multitudes of sincere Christians believe there is meritorious value
in all things Hebraic.  This is a deception of Satan intended to divert
their attention from the all-important issues at stake
in the closing days of Earth’s history.

 

buying onlineHave you ever seen a commercial for an awesome new gadget that is guaranteed to solve this particularly annoying problem that you and apparently everyone else in the world is having?  You are enticed and excited about how this splendid new thing will improve your life! You believe the friendly and charismatic salesperson. You hurriedly call the number or click on the link.  In a matter of minutes, your credit card has been charged and the miracle item is on its way to you!  You wait in eager anticipation!  Finally, the sought after box arrives!  It’s here!  It’s here!  After opening it, however, this wonder product is not nearly as ‘shiny’ as expected and is even less effective.  You feel duped, maybe even call customer service (to no avail), and now you vow to never fall victim to this marketing scam again.  How much more heartbreaking when this sad drama plays out in Spiritual matters.  Countless numbers of Christians fall into a similar trap while looking for truth.  Some accept the word of their priest or pastor as to what is truth, refusing to study anything that does not have their spiritual mentor’s approval.  For others, Satan has a more subtle deception prepared: the assumption that advanced light can be learned from the Jews.

Scripture contains a solemn warning: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8)  The reason for the devil’s increased anger is given in Revelation 12:12: “The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Those who are looking with longing for the Saviour’s return are vigilant.  Like the wise virgins, they have heeded the call that the bridegroom is coming.  In their love for Him, they have trimmed their lamps, seeking to bring their whole lives into conformity to Him.  This is as it should be.  Sadly, many sincere and conservative Christians have been diverted from the real issues of these last days by the teaching that there is saving merit in all things Hebraic – in being (or becoming) as Jewish as possible and supporting the nation of Israel as Yahuwah’s chosen people.

john hagee promoting messianic judaismSermons are preached and millions of dollars are sent to support Israel.  John Hagee, senior pastor of an 18,000-member congregation, is one well-known advocate of this belief.

In February, 2006, Pastor John Hagee, Founder and National Chairman of Christians United for Israel, decided the time had come to create a national grassroots movement focused on the support of Israel. He called upon Christian leaders from across America to join him in launching this new initiative. Over 400 Christian leaders each representing a denomination, mega-church, media ministry, publishing company, or Christian university answered the call and Christians United for Israel was born.1

Others, in a sincere desire to be as holy as possible, adopt many of the rabbinical practices in dress and other areas.  They pepper their vocabulary with Hebrew words and phrases – sometimes to the point of making it difficult for others to understand them.  They raise monies for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem or for building bomb shelters in Israel.  This is a major diversion that becomes a very subtle salvation by works.

The prophet Joel painted a vivid picture of the final generation when he declared: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of Yahuwah is near in the valley of decision.”  (Joel 3:14)  It is human nature to want a spiritual “guru,” whether shaman, priest, pastor or rabbi, to tell one what to believe.  But Yahuwah has assigned no man this role.  All are to come directly to the Saviour to receive the water of life.  Scripture records: “thus saith Yahuwah of hosts . . . He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”  (Zechariah 2:8)

Based on this, and other similar texts, many people believe that if they can become as Jewish as possible in life, and dress, and practice, they will please Yahuwah.  Unfortunately, much of what they adopt are the man-made traditions of the Pharisees. 

With the destruction of the Temple (70 A.D.) the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth, Jewish life was regulated by the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older priestly tradition . . . Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future.2

Those who turn to Jewish traditions to augment their spiritual life are, in actuality, turning to Pharisaism.  Jewish scholars admit the fact that modern Judaism is Pharisaism: 

Pharasaism (sic) became Talmudism ... [But] the spirit of the ancient Pharisee survives unaltered. When the Jew ... studies the Talmud, he is actually repeating the arguments used in the Palestinian academies. . . . The spirit of the [Pharisees‘] doctrine has remained quick and vital. . . . From Palestine to Babylonia; from Babylonia to North Africa, Italy, Spain, France and Germany; from these to Poland, Russia, and Eastern Europe generally, ancient Pharasaism (sic) has wandered.3

The Saviour’s most cutting rebukes were directed at the Pharisees.  He called them “blind guides,” “fools and blind,” “serpents” and a “generation of vipers.”  Calling the Pharisees “hypocrites,” Yahushua likened them to “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleaness.”  (Matthew 23:27) 

jewish-cemetery

Many sincere Christians today believe the Jews are still Yahuwah’s special people because the Jews say they are.  However, modern Judaism has no more saving merit than its ancient pharisaical counterpart.  Those who look to the Jews for confirmation of light are taking man-made traditions and exalting them to divine command status.  Yahushua clearly warned of the end result for all who turn to this source for truth:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte [convert], and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  (Matthew 23:13 and 15.)

Pharisaism, which is modern Judaism, consists of man-made laws and traditions.  The Jews have thousands of laws, but Yah says He “hates” these traditions:

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

 

Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.

 

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.  (Amos 5:21-23)

These were “holy convocations” established by Yahuwah Himself!  And yet, their manner of observance had become so weighted down with man-made rules and laws that they destroyed the spiritual essence of what the Law Giver intended them to be!  In their attempt to “perfectly” keep the divine law, the Pharisees added an entire host of additional rules and requirements.  They taught that these additional rules would keep one free from sin.  For example, a sunset-to-sunset Sabbath observance is not Biblical.  That designation was reserved exclusively for the Day of Atonement.  In an overly zealous attempt to “guard the edges of the Sabbath” the observance of Day of Atonement was extended to cover weekly Sabbath observance as well.

In words that resound to this day, Yahushua denounced these added works of the Pharisees, explaining: “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”  (Matthew 23:4)

These sincere people have no idea that the practices they are adopting are founded upon man-made rules and traditions.  They think, we’re rejecting the bad and going back to the Hebrew Roots, but the roots don’t extend beyond Babylon!

converting to messianic judaism

Character development is not solidified by the clothes you wear or the Hebrew words you add to your vocabulary or the Hebrew name you call yourself.  It is a gift given to those whose faith lays hold the precious promises.

Even in the early days of Christianity, there was a tendency among Jewish believers to place a high value on the beliefs, practices and traditions of the conservative class: the Pharisees.  To those who were drawn to these human traditions, Paul wrote:

pharisaism

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

 

. . . Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

 

They profess that they know Yahuwah; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.  (Titus 1:10-11, 13-14, 16)

This is a warning for those who look to the Jews as the depository of divine wisdom.  By making Jews the final authority on spiritual matters, believers are led to reject the same truths that the Jews have rejected.  A prime example is the true Sabbath.  Under the heavy Roman persecution following the Council of Nicæa, the Jews set aside the Biblical Sabbath when Hillel II “reformed” the calendar.  Jews, today, worship on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar.  As a result, millions of sincere Christians assume that Saturday is the Biblical Sabbath for no other reason than it is the day observed by the Jews and, of course the Jews would never worship on anything but the true Sabbath.  Thus, the final test comes and is rejected for no other reason than the assumption that the Jews must have truth because they are Jews.

Scripture, however, presents a very different point-of-view.  The Jews of ancient times, the Jews of Messiah’s time and the Jews of today, did not keep the divine law in the manner Yahuwah intended:

Yet Yahuwah testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.”  Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in Yahuwah their Eloah.  And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them . . .  So they left all the commandments of Yahuwah their Eloah . . . .  (2 Kings 17: 13-16)

Man-made traditions do not sanctify the soul.  They merely serve to make one feel superior to those who do not hold the same practices.

“The law of Yahuwah is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of Yahuwah is sure, making wise the simple.”  (Psalm 19:7)  Man-made traditions, the addition of rules based upon human interpretation, complicate the divine law.  The law of Yahuwah is simple and straightforward.  Yahushua swept aside all the traditions of the Pharisees and clarified the beautiful, comprehensive, yet simple nature of the divine law:

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

 

Yahushua said to him, “‘You shall love Yahuwah your Eloah 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.”  (Matthew 22:35-40)

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does Yahuwah require of you?  But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your Eloah.”  (Micah 6:8)  Paul expressed fear that the new believers would turn to traditions, setting aside the simplicity of truth:  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Yahushua.”  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

jerusalem

Those who turn to the traditions found in Judaism point to all the promises made to Israel, forgetting that promises were always given on condition of obedience.  Israel rejected Yahuwah when they demanded a king:  “And Yahuwah said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’ ” (1 Samuel 8:7)  The fact that Yahuwah bore long with them even after their rejection of Him is summed up in the oft repeated phrase – ‘for My servant David’s sake.’  But divine love will not stay where it is not wanted.  Though it may linger long, divine love will at last, sorrowfully, bow to the wishes of the obdurate heart.  A few days before Yahushua’s death, He mourned with breaking heart:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See!  Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahuwah!’  (Matthew 23:37-39)

Paul warned of “Judaizers” and these sincere Christians perfectly fit the description!  By falling for the belief that there is somehow merit in becoming more Jewish, in sending money to Israel, in building an entire eschatology around the assumption that Yahushua will not return until the Jews convert, these sincere Christians are setting themselves up to be taken by surprise at the Second Coming.  Yahushua warned: “Behold, I come as a thief.”  (Revelation 16:15)  When He returns, many Christians will be surprised because they have not yet seen mass conversions of the Jews.  They delay the Second Coming as surely as the wicked servant that said, "My Master delayeth his coming."

The promises for ancient Israel are now available to spiritual Israel.

For you are all sons of Eloah through faith in Yahushua the Anointed. For as many of you as were baptized into Yahushua have put on Yahushua.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Yahushua the Anointed. And if you are Yahushua’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (Galatians 3:26-29)

no jew or greek

Salvation is still available to the individual Jew, but the spiritual blessings are now for all who will accept them and this holds true to the close of earth’s history “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  (Luke 21:24)

Salvation is a gift of divine grace.  Those who love their Redeemer will want to honor Him in the beauty of holiness, unimpeded by man-made rules and traditions.  Yahuwah invites those laboring under heavy pharisaical burdens to return to Him and He will give them rest.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)


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2 “Pharisees,”The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, (1901-1906 ed.), p. 666.

3 Louis Finkelstein, The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of their Faith, Vol. 1, Foreward to first edition, p. XXI, emphasis supplied.