12 comments on “Revealing Idolatry in the Hebrew Roots Movement

  1. Thank you for posting this. The elevation of the Torah is being equal to God is blasphemous, yet I have seen it over and over again in the Hebrew Roots Movement. Understand, though, that this is the natural outcome of constantly declaring that ‘Yeshua is the living Torah,’ and ‘In the beginning was the Torah, and the Torah was with God, and the Torah was God.’

    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/video/ralph-messer-new-birth-crowns-eddie-long-as-king

  2. I think you’re reaching well beyond what is actually happening.

    First of all, if you want to blame someone for the tradition of kissing the scroll, blame the Jews, because they have done it for far longer than any HRs or Messianics.

    Though the bigger issue here is that you are stating that people have made the Torah Scroll into an idol. I have been to these services in Messianic synagogues before (though no longer attend for other doctrinal reasons). The “tradition” actually comes from a very LITERAL interpretation of passages such as Joshua 1:8, where YHWH says, “This book of the Torah shall not depart from your lips…”

    As with most things in Judaism, they take it a but too far, and take it as literal as possible. But, nonetheless, this is not made into an idol. I have seen videos of people from countries where Bibles are nearly impossible to get in their own language. In one particular video, a gentleman opens a case of Bibles, pulls one out, and cries tears of joy because he FINALLY has a copy of the Holy Scriptures for himself! He kisses the cover of the Bible, and holds it almost like it were his child. Is this idolatry? If it is, then any serious lover of the word is an idolater.

    Lastly, the images you use of popes and politicians and such kissing the scroll is a silly comparison. Popes also eat salads, should we refrain from eating salads? Popes breathe, should we all suffocate ourselves?

    P.S. The comment about “Moses’ seat” meaning they could do nothing but read the Torah…This is unproven. I hear Messianic after Messianic stating this as a fact, that only Torah could be read from Moses’ seat. But the fact is, there has never been PROOF that only Torah could be spoken from Moses’ seat. It is just as easy to say that Moses’ seat is the place where one would sit to give his interpretation of the Torah.

    • Hello Elect of Yahweh,

      I think we both agree that the Jewish people have been doing this longer than the HR’s & Messianics. For this article, I didn’t want to focus on the Jewish people because they do a lot of things born out of tradition that are just too many to name. I wanted to talk about one commonality between the HR’s and the Jews and that is the Torah scroll.

      In cases where these people are in countries where bibles are scarce and they kiss it when they finally receive one….I don’t think this is idolatry nor did I elude to it. This is a far cry from 800+ people/congregants lifting up an object made by man’s hands, parading it around the assembly while people look on lovingly, eagerly awaiting to get close enough to touch it and/or kiss it. To hold up ANY object that man has made with his own hands that cannot see, or hear, or speak (sound familiar?) and parade it around (because it cannot walk because it doesn’t have life) is absolutely idolatry. It’s no different than the golden calf that was made by man’s hands, that cannot see, hear, speak, or walk. That’s where I’m coming from. It doesn’t matter what the object is or if they claim it represents Yahweh, it is not to be revered – only Yahweh is. And this picture of reverence is most definitely seen in the Catholic church with them kissing the feet of statues and rings etc. so I don’t think this comparison is silly at all. It’s exactly the same because what they revere and lift up is not Yah.

      They read from the books of Moses when they sat in Moses’ seat which is Torah. This does not mean man’s interpretation. They gave their interpretation when they stood up which is why Yeshua said not to listen to them. Plus, if they gave their interpretation when they stood up and when they sat in Moses’ seat, then that would make Yeshua’s statement nonsensical. What is written in the books of Moses (Torah) is from the mouth of YHVH and therefore pure. There is a big difference.

      • So then do we pick and choose, based on what we think is idolatry? Kissing a Torah scroll in front of 800 people (which is far more than any local congregation has) is idolatry, but kissing a Bible in front of 150 people is NOT idolatry? I’m not seeing the consistency here. And yes, it is paraded around. It is also blessed. What a deep, loving, beautiful sign of the love His people have for His Word. That still does not prove there is worship of it.

        In fact, in the many, many times I have seen Messianic gatherings (now, mind you, 99.9% of HR groups do not have the $$$ to by a scroll. Typically only Messianic Jewish Synagogues have that type of cash), never once has anyone worshiped the scroll. I’ve seen men (and women) kiss it. But never seen anyone bow to it, or place food before it, or say that this individual collection of animal skin and wood is someone “God.”

        So, this is your definition of idolatry: holding up an object made by man’s hands, which cannot see or hear or speak, and parade it around, right? Then I must ask why the Ark of the Covenant is any different.

        Joshua 3;4; Deut. 10; and many other Scriptures state that the Ark was to be borne on the shoulders of the Levites, and they were to carry it before them into the Land. Because YHWH Himself commanded them to. Was the Ark made by YHWH’s Hand? No. Was the Ark able ot “hear, see, or speak”? No. So what is the difference between the Ark and, as you say, the Golden Calf?

        Same as the Copper (not Bronze) Serpent. YHWH Himself COMMANDED them to make it. Why would He command them to make an “idol,” and especially of a serpent? The serpent was placed on a pole and lifted up high, and ALL those who were afflicted had to LOOK on it (see Num. 21). So what is the difference between the Ark, the serpent, and the calf?

        I am a little disappointed you did not respond to the Joshua 1:8 Scripture at all. I was looking forward to that one being explained away.

        And as to the seat of Moses, you said the same thing that you said earlier, which I already stated I have heard before.

        “They read from the books of Moses when they sat in Moses’ seat which is Torah. This does not mean man’s interpretation. They gave their interpretation when they stood up which is why Yeshua said not to listen to them.”

        Proof? Because you still have not given any proof that in Moses’ Seat, one could only speak Torah. However, I have proof to the opposite. In Luke 4, Yeshua STOOD to read Scripture (Lk. 4:16), and SAT DOWN to speak His own words (Lk. 4:20).

        I’m not advocating for obeying the laws of man, just stating a fact. Many people have said what you are saying about Moses’ seat, and as of yet I have never seen anyone PROVE it.

        I am also not advocating kissing the Torah scroll. I don’t have a problem with it either way. I just find it silly to say that it is idolatry. Perhaps for some people it is. But then, for some people, watching TV is an idol, and so are NFL quarterbacks.

      • You’re still not understanding what I’m saying. The number of people is irrelevant. I think you are showing favor to the scroll because it’s “blessed” and believe it’s a “deep, loving, beautiful sign of love.” Did you read my entire article particularly about how Satan works? And who says the Torah scroll is blessed? We can be blessed if we read it or obey it. And we show our love for Torah not by kissing it and carrying it around, but by doing what it says. By doing what Abba says. Putting on that public spectacle is all outward, not inward. Yeshua says the rabbis wore their tefillin extra wide and their tzitziyot extra long and said they were white washed tombs. One is outward and one is inward – same thing.

        I think that you think that idolatry lies in the object alone, which is why you mentioned the Ark of the Covenant, the serpent. Yahweh never commanded anyone to make an idol. But would you agree that Yah gives us something good and man corrupts it? The Word of God is Holy yet man corrupts it? Sex in the boundaries of marriage is good but man abuses and corrupts it, would you agree? The scroll itself is not an idol. It is, after all, the words of Yah. It is what man does that corrupts it. Nowhere are we commanded to kiss, parade, revere, or honor any object. Yes Yah told them to make that Ark and to carry it wherever He leads them but that is not what I’ve been talking about.

        As far as Joshua 1:8 – about keeping the Book of the Law on your lips….I hope you’re not implying that we are to kiss it based on that verse. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and not comment on this because I think, I hope you already know what the intent is.

        As far as Yeshua sitting and standing when He read – it doesn’t matter if He sits, stands, does cartwheels, or hangs from a tree, He only speaks what the Father tells Him and His words are trustworthy. He is an exception and I hope you can agree with that. 🙂

        Matt 23:2,3 says: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

        So do you think that when Yeshua says “be careful to do everything they tell you” that He’s talking about obeying THEIR interpretation or the Torah? Yeshua spoke out many times against the “leaven of the Pharisees” and Sadducees. He spoke against their teachings that nullify Torah. He came to teach in truth, not tradition. So do you really think that He’s pointing people in the direction of these “blind guides and white washed tombs” after He continually rebukes them instead of what His Father wrote in the Torah? Do you really think He was telling them to follow the rabbi’s interpretation as they sat on Moses’ seat? No, the burden of proof is on YOU!

      • “I think you are showing favor to the scroll because it’s “blessed” and believe it’s a “deep, loving, beautiful sign of love.””

        I need not show favor to anything. I have my opinions regarding it, and you have yours. The simple point is, if everyone treated His Word with the amount of respect and care that Jews (and the very few HRs that do the same) treated the Scroll itself with, the world would be a better place. This is not idolatry: this is respect.

        “And we show our love for Torah not by kissing it and carrying it around, but by doing what it says. By doing what Abba says.”

        Amein v’amein. But that is not the issue being addressed here.

        “Yeshua says the rabbis wore their tefillin extra wide and their tzitziyot extra long and said they were white washed tombs. One is outward and one is inward – same thing.”

        Again, amein, though not what this is about. If the inside is clean, the outside will follow.

        “I think that you think that idolatry lies in the object alone, which is why you mentioned the Ark of the Covenant, the serpent. Yahweh never commanded anyone to make an idol.”

        Not in the object. Rather, in the heart of the worshiper, just as I said previously. I said “for some people, watching TV is an idol, and so are NFL quarterbacks.” That in no way means TV shows are idols, neither are NFL QBs. But people can and do IDOLIZE them. Thus, idolatry is defined in the heart of the individual.

        “But would you agree that Yah gives us something good and man corrupts it?”

        Yes, I agree with that. More specifically, that man CAN and, in some cases, DOES corrupt it.

        “The Word of God is Holy yet man corrupts it? Sex in the boundaries of marriage is good but man abuses and corrupts it, would you agree?”

        Without a doubt.

        “The scroll itself is not an idol. It is, after all, the words of Yah. It is what man does that corrupts it. Nowhere are we commanded to kiss, parade, revere, or honor any object.”

        So we agree then: the Scroll is not an idol. Good. However, you are wrong about the latter part of your statement. ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and REVERE MY SANCTUARY; I am YHWH.’ – Lev. 19:30. The miqdash, or “sanctuary” as it is here, is to be “revered.” Yet the miqdash was a physical place, made by the hands of man.

        “Yes Yah told them to make that Ark and to carry it wherever He leads them but that is not what I’ve been talking about.”

        Not what you’ve been talking about, no. Just what I brought up by means of comparison. Because there is no difference to carrying around the Ark and “parading it around” (which cannot see, speak, or hear, remember?) than there is “parading around” a Torah scroll. Neither is idolatry until an individual begins to worship it.

        “As far as Joshua 1:8 – about keeping the Book of the Law on your lips….I hope you’re not implying that we are to kiss it based on that verse. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and not comment on this because I think, I hope you already know what the intent is.”

        Well, at least I get some form of response to the verse. No, I’m not saying it demands a literal interpretation. But, as with most things in Scripture, there are multiple levels to it. Just because we might WANT to interpret it allegorically, does not mean it has to be, nor that it shouldn’t be. Whereas Judaism tends to accept the physical and totally neglect the spiritual, too often I find that we neglect the physical, and then try to understand the spiritual. Are you going to say that this verse can NOT be taken literally?

        “As far as Yeshua sitting and standing when He read – it doesn’t matter if He sits, stands, does cartwheels, or hangs from a tree, He only speaks what the Father tells Him and His words are trustworthy. He is an exception and I hope you can agree with that. :)”

        Yes, He is the Shaliach of YHWH, His Mighty Right Hand. And no, it doesn’t matter if He sits or stands. But He followed tradition in that instance, as He did many times. He also opposed many traditions, when they conflicted with the Torah itself.

        “So do you think that when Yeshua says “be careful to do everything they tell you” that He’s talking about obeying THEIR interpretation or the Torah?”

        No, I do not think that. I have a completely different theory, but we’ll come back to that.

        “Yeshua spoke out many times against the “leaven of the Pharisees” and Sadducees. He spoke against their teachings that nullify Torah. He came to teach in truth, not tradition. So do you really think that He’s pointing people in the direction of these “blind guides and white washed tombs” after He continually rebukes them instead of what His Father wrote in the Torah? Do you really think He was telling them to follow the rabbi’s interpretation as they sat on Moses’ seat?”

        As already stated, no, I do not believe that.

        “No, the burden of proof is on YOU!”

        No, not at all. I did not make a bold claim that, “sitting on the seat of Moses” means ONLY READING TORAH, and not giving an interpretation of it or anything. I didn’t say that, you did. But I will go one step further and not only give my opinion (just as you have done) bu also give PROOF of my opinion. I do not believe that “sitting in the seat of Moses” means simply reading Torah. I also do not think that “sitting in the seat of Moses” means simply giving an interpretation of Torah.

        I think “sitting in the seat of Moses” means doing what the Scribes and Pharisees did as a legal position: judging. It was up to the priests and the judges to judge the cases of the people.

        Deut. 17 says, “10You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which YHWH chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. 11According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left.”

        So being the priests, elders, and judges (as the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were), it was their JOB to judge cases for the people. But how do we know the “seat” refers to judgment?

        “13The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.” – Ex. 18:13

        The “seat of Moses” refers to judging, not simply reading. We find more evidence of a “judgment seat” idea in 2 Sam. 19, where David “sat at the gate.” Sitting atthe city gate was what the elders would do, and would judge the cases of the people. See Prov. 31:23; Deut. 21:19; and possibly 1 Sam. 4:18.

        So there is my “proof” of my position.

        Though back to the original point, I still think it is silly to say that kissing a scroll is idolatrous. Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to, that is correct. But nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to kiss our spouses, either. Does it make me idolatrous because I look at my wife lovingly, longingly, eagerly awaiting to touch her, and kiss her? That’s silly. However, is it possible for me to turn my wife into an idol? Of course! I could bow down to her, worship her, and turn her into a “god” of sorts. THAT would be idolatry.

        I will not say that every single person who kisses the Torah scroll is committing idolatry any more than I would say a man loving and kissing his wife commits idolatry (or a woman her husband). However, anything can BECOME an idol, and I will admit that in some cases, the Scroll itself probably has become an idol to some before. Just as I am equally sure that people have idolized their spouses in some cases.

        Back to the point I made earlier: idolatry is a heart condition. I can turn anything into an idol if I choose to worship it.

  3. This isn’t my ‘official’ response. I just wanted to tell you that I’m going to consider what you have said about Moses’ seat and look at those verses you referenced when I get time later or tomorrow. 🙂

  4. I did some reading and frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. 🙂 Yes, Moses judged civil cases and disputes and yes he had a particular seat in which he sat but it seems to me that as he’s judging these cases, that he’s using the laws from Torah in which to judge. So when the Pharisees sat in Moses’ seat and gave correct information/decrees/laws, I think they were reading from Torah (because civil laws are covered in Torah) but they did not do them themselves. Yeshua called them hypocrites. So they spoke rightly and did wrongly. And the part that they spoke rightly about, I believe they read from Torah. So one can read AND judge based on what they just read.

    And about kissing your spouse…you keep making these outlandish comparisons which tells me you’re still not understanding me or perhaps I’m not explaining it well. So as far as what “worship” and “idolatry” is, I’ll leave that up to the Ruach to teach you. My view of these things are not as relaxed as yours. And if I’m wrong, then the Ruach will correct me and I welcome His correction. 🙂

  5. Elect of Yahweh,
    I’m not really sure why you feel that you have to continually justify yourself to me. After all, it’s not me that you will be facing on Judgment Day.

  6. When I was a Seventh Day Adventist, years ago, I heard someone say, “I wouldn’t bow before the Queen of England because, that is worshiping her”. I heard a Puritan marriage vow from the 17th Century & it declares his love & “worship” for his wife to be. I’ve seen people, on the television news, rioting either because their sports team won or lost, wearing a jersey of their favorite player, etc. I’ve seen women fainting on TV when the Beatles were playing & chasing them down the street in one of their movies. My God-loving Guru of the past said, “Gurus expect to be loved & worshiped by their
    chilas (students)”. I’ve knelt before statues of the perpetually virgin Mary asking her to talk to Jesus for me. I worshiped the host in a gold & glass encasement (ciborium) because it was the “body & blood of Jesus”.
    I love the Sabbath, the Old & New Testaments & the fact that Jesus will redeem the Jews, the Lost Tribes & the Gentiles all as one people who serve the One G_d (YHWH El_H_m). I feel very uncomfortable touching, clapping, turning my body & following the Torah scroll every Sabbath. I no longer touch it, partially follow it, and don’t clap. I feel like an idolator but maybe a dolt who, might be taking this too seriously. Am I acting foolishly or should I obey my conscience & come at 11 AM when the Scroll is on the table?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s