Jonathan Cahn and the Hebrew Roots Movement
Though I thought my last article on the Sabbatical Year cycle (Shemitah) was actually going to be the final one, it turns out I was wrong. What I failed to point out is found within the dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement. Admittedly, it is easy to get sucked into this movement because Gentile Christians tend to believe that we are somehow connected to Jews in a spiritual sense. I’ve heard more than one Christian exclaim that they are “spiritual” Jews. This is based on a faulty interpretation of Romans, especially chapters nine through eleven.
Christians may pick out a verse or two from Romans 9 – 11 and miss the context completely. In much of that section, Paul is talking about what it means to be a true Jew. He says that a true Jew is not one outwardly (he says that early on, in Romans 2:28). He later defines what makes a true Jew and compares a true Jew with a false Jew. Just because someone was born as a Jew does not necessarily make them a true Jew in God’s eyes. However, Paul is also clear that a Gentile is never considered by God to be a “Jew.” Please read Romans 9 – 11 in one sitting. Read it through several times to get the feel and flow. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to read the entirety of Romans in one sitting.
One of the reasons (and I failed to point this out), that Jonathan Cahn is so widely accepted today is because too many Christians (Gentiles) want to see themselves as Jewish. For some reason, we think that being Jewish is better than being simply a Gentile Christian. Paul (and the writer of Hebrews) makes this abundantly clear that this is not the case and that spiritually, there is no Gentile, Jew, male, female, slave or free (Galatians 3:11; 3:28) when it comes to salvation. Jesus destroyed the partition that had previously separated everyone with respect to salvation.
But in today’s world, the Hebrew Roots Movement is out to rebuild that partition. It does so by elevating Judaism over and above Christianity. Moreover, it insists that Christians have been removed from their “roots” (Judaism) and need to get back to them. These people ignore the findings of the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.
“The premise of the Hebrew Roots movement is the belief that the Church has veered far from the true teachings and Hebrew concepts of the Bible. The movement maintains that Christianity has been indoctrinated with the culture and beliefs of Greek and Roman philosophy and that ultimately biblical Christianity, taught in churches today, has been corrupted with a pagan imitation of the New Testament gospels.“
To remedy this situation, the growing Hebrew Roots Movement teaches that we need to move back toward Judaism. This often starts with the correct belief that if we as Christians would learn more about the world of Judaism and begin to see the Bible through Jewish eyes, we would have a greater understanding of the Bible. This is true. There are many idioms, figures of speech, and more that are specific to Jewish culture within the pages of Scripture. The more we know about those things, the greater our understanding of God’s Word will be. But from there, it is somewhat easy to become caught up in the whole “Jewish” thing; seeing yourself as a “spiritual” Jew, wanting to buy a Bible that has “Jewish” roots to it, and even buying a yarmulke if you’re a man.
Those involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement often adopt a Jewish outlook on life. Many Hebrew Roots congregations are made up mainly of Gentiles and are led by a Gentile “rabbi” (usually a Gentile who calls himself a Messianic Christian). This movement back to Judaism was dealt with at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 and that should have been the end of it. Instead, we see this leaven working its way through the visible Church today.
But this is also why Jonathan Cahn’s books are doing so well and I have neglected to mention this previously. Cahn tugs at the heart-strings of Christians who want to identify with Judaism because Jesus was/is Jewish. Who among us would not want to go back to the time of Jesus and follow Him around, admiringly receiving everything He said and did? We would want to be like Him, right? But what many forget is that Judaism was the first phase in God’s plan and the festivals, the law, etc., were fulfilled by Jesus. This does not mean that since Jesus obeyed the law to the nth degree, Christians don’t have to do so. On the contrary, Christians are obligated to obey every aspect of God’s moral law. However, it is clear from Scripture that Christians are not obligated to observe Jewish festivals!
The festivals, the feasts, the Sabbatical Year cycles (Shemitah), the passover and everything else associated with Judaism was given only to the nation of Israel. No other nation was expected to observe the things that Israel observed. Foreigners who became part of Israel were expected to observe at least some of the ceremonial laws, but not those outside Israel.
Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism and it takes us beyond it. As a Christian, I can and should study the festivals, the feasts, and the rest in order to gain greater insight into Jesus. I should not study those things in order to begin observing them or implementing them in my own life. Jesus fulfilled all. Those who trust in Him are empowered to live a life that obeys God’s moral law, but there is no obligation for Christians to become Jewish or to observe those things that are specifically Jewish-oriented.
America was not founded by God, but because Jonathan Cahn makes a case for it, it must be true, right? America was allowed to come into existence and it will go out of existence in God’s timing. We are not spiritually connected with Israel anymore than Christians are spiritually Jewish. This belief is a complete misread of God’s Word, in my opinion.
I firmly believe Jonathan Cahn is pushing a form of Hebrew Roots theology. Yet, it is patently clear from Paul (a pharisee of pharisee, a Hebrew of Hebrews) that Judaism is a “type” of what was fulfilled in Jesus and was a shadow of what is to come.
“As opposed to what the Hebrew Roots movement claims, the New Testament teachings of the Apostle Paul are perfectly clear and self-explanatory. Colossians 2:16,17 says, ‘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 shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.’ Romans 14:5 states, ‘One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.’ Scripture clearly indicates that these issues are a matter of personal choice. These verses and many others give clear evidence that the Mosaic Covenant laws and ordinances have ended. Continuing to teach that the Old Covenant is still in effect in spite of what the New Testament teaches, or twisting the New Testament to agree with the Hebrew Roots beliefs, is false teaching.”
Yet, it would appear that many of today’s Christians would tell Paul he is wrong. We do not need to observe the festivals, the new moons, the Sabbath days as the Jews of old did. America is not in trouble because we failed to observe these things. If so, then Paul is lying to us and of course, he’s not. America is in trouble because just as declared in Romans 1, the people of this nation have progressively become worse and worse in their desire to rebel against God and His moral law. This is also outlined in Psalm 2.
The capstone of this rebellion is seen when the leaders of any nation (or the individual people of it) being to reject and persecute Israel and Jews. The BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel is a case in point. The people involved in that will reap God’s wrath (Genesis 12:3). Avoid that movement and those people but pray for them.
Our nation’s leaders have thrown Israel under the bus and have clasped hands with Iran, one of Israel’s most virulent enemies. Those who approve what our nation’s leaders have done will reap the same consequences as our nation’s leaders.
Jonathan Cahn’s writings appeal to people who see themselves as being “spiritually” united with Israel in some form. For those people, there is nothing I can say that will rouse them from their blindness. God will have to do it if He chooses to do so.
Christian, if you turn to any form of the Hebrew Roots Movement, you are going back to Judaism, something you should avoid. This is what Paul fought against in his letter to the Galatians. Yet, this error persists today. America has no spiritual connection with Israel. I’m not even sure how a “nation” can be connected “spiritually” with another “nation” in the first place. How does that work?
Learn about Judaism to gain greater depth and insight into God’s Word. However, avoid becoming involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement in any form. That includes the erroneous teachings of Jonathan Cahn.
Entry filed under: christianity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: bds, harbinger, hebrew roots movement, jonathan cahn.