Messianic Judaism 41 – Cultic Influence


Almost done for now with Messianic Judaism. We’ve tackled a lot of subjects. If you’re late to this, I suggest you go to the categories on the right hand side of the page, choose Messianic Judaism, and start from the very first ones.

One area that needs to be investigated is the tie in to cults. I haven’t addressed Seventh Day Adventism yet (I’m getting there), but its nearly surprising how many Messianics recycle the same arguments for the Sabbath day as the SDA. I don’t know, and have not been able to trace the SDA influence in Messianic Judaism. Trust me, should I find it, I’ll return to this subject and address it fully.

There’s a number of law-keeping cults out there. The Boston Church, Worldwide Church of God (Armstrong) used to be – the splinter groups that broke off from Tkach all still preach it. The Way International is “Torah Observant.”

There ARE ties between some of the Messianic teachers and some of these cults. Michael Rood was formerly associated with The Way, International, until he left and began calling himself a Messianic. Amazingly, Messianics seem to be Biblically illiterate and showing a remarkable lack of discernment. There’s been ample evidence showing Mr. Rood to be still teaching Way International heresy, but simply calling it Messianic Judaism. Why? There’s precious little difference between The Way International’s teachings and what Messianics espouse, or will accept.

No,w let me get something out of the way, speaking of The Way. I’ve read a lot of expose’s on some Messianic Torah Teachers, and I’ve noticed a lot speaking of James Scott Trimm being a member of the Way, International, or being associated with it. To quote James Trimm, “I have never been a part of The Way International.” If I had uncovered any connection, I’d have listed it here.

The only thing that alarms me about his denial, is that he is using The Way International’s Aramaic-English lexicon for his Messianic Bible paraphrase. If the tree is rotten, the fruit is as well. Legally, this concept is known as “Fruit of the poisonous tree”. It certainly applies here. I suspect it was the first Aramaic English lexicon he could find.

What’s so bad about The Way, International? They promote Torah observance… but they also deny the deity of Jesus Christ. It’s a christ-denying cult. Messianics should be staying FAR AWAY from all teachers who deny Christ.

I’ll say this – it’s just about impossible to find a Messianic teacher whose statement of faith says, “I believe in the Trinity, composed of god the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. I believe Jesus Christ is fully God and Fully man, pre-existent as the Son of God from before time.”

Instead, Hebrew and Aramaic terms abound. Even James Trimm has to use the word Memra, and most refer to the word “Torah” when talking about Jesus Christ, as if He is the physical embodiment of the 613 commandments.

Really.

The concept is one of isolating the “thou shalt’s” of the bible and worshipping them. In reality, while any Messianics blithely mouth praises to “Yeshua”, in reality, most of them are worshipping the laws of Moses. The rampant denial of Christ in the Messianic movement is sometimes open, most of the time concealed in complicated explanations that amount to, “No, I don’t believe in Jesus.”

Why do you HAVE to use the word Memra’? Yes, it’s an Aramaic word that means “word”. Yes, the book of John refers to Jesus Christ as “the word”. But I have to ask, why are you using words that fewer than 10% of Christians will understand, and can’t simply use English words?

Why do they have to be complicated statements of faith? Why not just a simple, “I believe in One God revealed in three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy ghost?” Why not simple to understand statements of faith?

The more complicated the wording of the statement of faith, the more it can hide. I have to assume that if you’re complicating it, you’re trying to lie. You’re denying a belief in Christ, but you know if you do it openly, that many will reject you rightly as a false teacher.

Here’s from the statement of faith of Barukh Hashem Messianic synagogue:

“We believe In one God, existing from all eternity as the Father, the Son, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).”

Am I making too much out of this? Well, prove to me it’s not a denial of Christ. It does not say “one God revealed in three persons” but “one God, existing from all eternity as…” the wording is important.

How? Well, this could be a Modalistic statement of faith, claiming they believe in Patripassionism, that God the Father died on the Cross. The modalistic belief is in God the Father leaving heaven, and coming to earth, suffering, dying, and then rising, leaving earth, and returning a month later as the Holy Spirit.

It’s a heresy. And all who believe this way are denying Christ. You won’t be seeing them in heaven. And yet, it’s one of the most popular heresies in the Messianic movement, besides the law keeping stuff.

What else does Barukh Hashem believe?

“We also believe that Rabbinic Judaism is the living link that ties contemporary Jews with their biblical past, and that Messianic Judaism can and must draw upon the wealth of that tradition in developing its way of life and thought. Furthermore, we affirm the riches of insight into the mystery of Messiah and His will found in the Christian theological tradition, and acknowledge the need for the Messianic Jewish Synagogue to draw also upon this wealth.”

Uh… there’s so much wrong with that I don’t know where to start.

Rabbinic Judaism is a false system. I know, I was there for years! The Rabbi gives the speech (sermon) while the Kohen stands by idly, waiting to give the aaronic benediction at the end of the service. He just got first Torah reading, but he’s been replaced.

nothing about that in the Bible at ALL. As a matter of fact, those “apostolic writings” you refer to in your statement of faith, the New Testament forbids the leaven of the pharisees. Remember them? That’s the Rabbis. I was a Pharisee, I know!

I was unable to contact Avi Ben Mordecai to get him to answer simple questions about his belief.

From Avi Ben Mordecai’s statement of (lack of) faith…

Avi is not one to argue doctrine.

Then you’re not called to the ministry. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We are COMMANDED to earnestly contend for the faith! We are commanded to keep our doctrine without spot. As David Cloud points out, a spot is a little thing! We have to keep our doctrine PURE. If you refuse to contend for the faith within Biblical parameters, then you’re usurping someone elses’ pulpit.

Is Avi’s first statement about God? Yes… his god. The Torah.

We believe in the validity and application of the laws of the Bible as they are taught in the Written Hebrew Torah, Prophets and Writings. These ancient documents of Israel represent “true” Judaism according to Hebrew Scripture; laws and teachings that are developed in commentary through the original autographs of the “New Testament.”

Notice Ben Mordecai believes in the preservation and inspiration of the Old Testament… but doesn’t believe in the inspiration and preservation of the New Testament. He mentions the “autographs”, the “Original texts” of the New testament.

Stating a belief in the inspiration of the “original manuscripts of the New Testament” is the same thing as saying, “I don’t believe in the inspiration of the texts we have now.”

To the Messianic, the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, something we have no proof of. It’s claimed by one of the early christian writers that Matthew was first written in Hebrew, but then re-written in Greek. There are phrases in some books that can only have been written in Greek.

Look, it’s really simple. I’ve said it before, and obviously it hasn’t sunk in yet. If God wanted the original texts preserved, we’d have them today. He preserved the Textus Receptus greek manuscripts, keeping them in constant use among the churches for 2,000 years.

God CHOSE for the Greek to be the inspire,d preserved manuscripts. The Messianics believe in texts that don’t exist, and in one they say, based upon a single statement about a single book that it had originally been written in Hebrew. It’s possible that Matthew may have sat down and begun to write out notes in hebrew. But when God took over, Matthew wrote it in Greek.

And we have the Greek today. Quit claiming allegiance to a single book that no longer exists, and to 28 other books that you pretend was written in Hebrew but there’s no proof of, nor any verbal statements, or visible fragments.

From Avi’s statement of faith… (I fixed his spelling errors)

Q: Do you believe that the NT letters and narratives were transmitted under the inspiration and guidance of the the Ruach HaKodesh?

A: As transmitted through the original autographs, Yes.

Q:Do we have original autographs today?

A: No, we do not. What we have today is a series of highly edited early church additions, subtractions, and changes. There is truth in the “New Testament” documents that we do have. However, the truth can only be determined by comparing its words and teachings to what we have written in our Hebrew Bible, in Hebrew, and then judging these documents by what is written down for us in the Leningrad Codex and in the biblical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ah, I see. We have to rely upon Avi Ben Mordecai, in all his wisdom, to find the real meaning of the New Testament for us! All before him are liars and thieves! Why, we should be anticipating Ben Mordecai to be crucified for our sins any day now!

this is typical cult leader stuff. “You cannot find the truth anywhere but here!”

Q: What do you believe about Yeshua and his teachings?

A: According to Scripture, Yeshua was known to be the Sent One like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19/Acts 3:19-23/John 7:16). He was also known to be the Son of Yah (John 10:36/Isaiah 43:10-11) in Judaism’s esoteric texts such as the Zohar, who came in the Name of YHWH (Matthew 23:39), all according to the ancient and well established Messianic prophecies, such as Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 53 (according to the Targumim). Scripturally, these references have their basis in the whole of Hebrew Scripture starting with Isaiah 11:2 as this specifies that YHWH was to choose one from the stem or root of Yishai (Jesse) to be greatly endowed with the eternal and divine attributes of the Name YHWH and one that would have a delight in YHWH; would have the fear of YHWH; would not judge by what he sees but by what is in the Written Law of YHWH, through the Ruach or Spirit of the Law.

He goes on like this for several paragraphs. See how COMPLICATED it is? What DOESN’T Avi say?

He doesn’t use the word “God” when talking about Jesus Christ. “sent one”, “son of Yah”, “came in the name of YHWH”… but not “God in human flesh.”

Avi Ben Mordecai, one of the more respected Messianic Torah Teachers, is a heretic, a christ-denier.

From Avi’s statement of faith…

Do you believe in the Trinity?

A: No and Yes. The “Trinity” as it is taught in Catholicism and Christianity is totally pagan and I cannot possibly accept such a concept. However, there is a “Trinity” as in the image of a Divine Family of Father, Mother, Word.

Heretic. The Bible does not even come close to any such teaching.

Here’s my question to James Trimm and his almost-answer…

My question – “Will a Christian that does not keep the Torah go to heaven, in your view?”

His answer…

Of course we are a sect of Judaism…. so this is really not a very applicable question.

We maintain that the original followers of Yeshua were a sect of Judaism, and that Yeshua came to be the Jewish Messiah of Judaism, not to create a new anti-nomian religion known as “Christianity”.

We do not believe that one can earn salvation by Torah observance. As we read in the Mishna:

Antigones of Soko received [Torah] from Simeon the Righteous. He used to say, “Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their master with no thought of a wage – and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.”

(m.Avot 1:3)

We do, however, maintain that Messiah is the Torah incarnate (the “Word” made flesh) and thus if one rejects the Torah, one is rejecting the substance of who the Messiah is.

What that boils down to is.. “no.” James Trimm does not believe a Christian who does not keep the Torah is saved. Please note he quotes from Pirke Avot, the core book of the Mishnah. It’s a great quote, mind you! But it’s nonetheless from the Mishnah, not from the New Testament, which is very telling in my opinion.

His statement of faith (which he sent me) says something different.

IV. SALVATION

We believe that through the death of Messiah, because of his blood covenant with us, we receive salvation by way of inheritance. This salvation comes by faith through grace alone and is not earned by Torah observance.

V. TORAH

The Torah of Truth the Almighty gave to His people, Israel, through Moshe. He will not exchange it nor discard it for another until heaven and earth pass away. We believe that Torah observance is man’s moral obligation and expression of love to YHWH. The Torah is freedom and not bondage. The Torah is the way, the truth and the light and is for all of our generations forever.

My statement to James Trimm…

Many messianics state their position parroting David Stern’s “Messianic Jewish Manifesto” that Christians are saved by faith through grace – but must maintain their salvation by mandatory observance of the Torah.

His reply:

I certainly do not agree with that

Which apparently is something different from what he just said above. He said specifically he views Jesus as the living embodiment of the Torah – if you reject the Torah, you reject Jesus. But his answer to a direct question summing up the very position he just summed up, he says he can’t agree with!

Mr. Trimm does state he considers his cult, the Nazarene Judaism, to be a sect of Judaism, and is not Messianic. This is why many Messianics have cut ties with Trimm.

In the interest of fairness, he objected to my earlier statement about his constant fundraisers as being an Ad Hominem attack. I do apologize, and I’ll go so far as to say it was good to have an exchange with a Messianic who seemed to have an “I don’t care what you say, here’s my position, thanks” attitude. It cut out the nonsense right off the bat. Trimm seemed to be almost amused when I told him I considered him a heretic and a false teacher. No problem – it was obvious he felt the same about me.

So, I’m left to wonder if Mr. Trimm is simply summing up his beliefs poorly, unable to find the rights words, being dishonest, or doesn’t quite know what he believes, as he’s said one thing here and one thing there.

His statement of faith about the Trinity?

We believe that YHWH is Echad (one). We believe that YHWH reveals Himself in the K’numeh or Gaunin of Avi/Abba (Father/Daddy), the Memra (Word), and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

Okay, again, he’s not saying, “I believe in one God revealed in three persons. I believe Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, second person of the trinity.”

I don’t know if Trimm considers himself a trinitarian, a modalist, patripassionist, or Heinz 57 Theology. He is unable to state his beliefs in simple, clear, “go feed the cat”English, and resorts to Aramaic and Hebrew to sum up his position.

Here’s a GREAT way for Messianics to start clearing house. Simply start getting together (there are Messianic conventions where Messianics meet and talk), and decide amongst yourselves a very simple rule –

Any Messianics who cannot answer a simple “Yes” to the questions I posited a week or so ago – “Do you believe in the Trinity? Do you believe Jesus Christ is fully God and Fully Man, pre-existent, the second person of the Trinity?” Should be ordered to leave. Cast out as a heretic, and told, “we’re sorry – we’ll be praying for you.”

Go ahead. I’m waiting. i’ll even hum a little tune while you go do that.

I’m telling you, it’s going to eliminate probably about 70% of the Hebrew Roots – Torah Observant movement.

Then I’ll be glad to help the rest of you come to a Biblical understanding of the New Birth, and your freedom from the Law. Look, it only takes a simple understanding of what it is to be born again, to throw away the heavy burden of the Torah.

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Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???