By: Luke Schrimsher
If you’ve ever gone online to search for info regarding the Hebrew Roots Movement, you’ve probably come across gotquestions.org & their article titled “Question: What is the Hebrew Roots Movement?” As a participant in this so called “movement,” I was pleased to find that the author, S. Michael Houdmann, provides a fairly accurate answer to this challenging question. Unfortunately, he follows up his answer with comments & claims that directly contradict the scriptures and reveal a lack of knowledge and understanding of the Law and the Prophets. At first glance, his words seem biblical & trustworthy based on what most of us have been taught; however, upon closer scrutiny, we find they just don’t agree with God’s word.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that YHWH Elohim had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say…?’ “
Houdmann starts off with the erroneous claim that “the teachings of the Apostle Paul are perfectly clear and self-explanatory.” That statement directly contradicts the inspired words of Peter in the New Testament (2 Peter 3:15-17) when he wrote, “our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” It is not a coincidence that, following this unbiblical claim regarding Paul’s teachings, the writer proceeds to make the “error of [the] lawless” of which Peter warned.
In reference to Colossians 2:16-17 & Romans 14:5, Houdmann writes that “scripture clearly indicates that these issues (food, drink, festivals, new moons, sabbath days) are a matter of personal choice,” but how can “these issues” be matters of “personal choice” if there are clear instructions to the contrary in the same book (Bible) by the same author?
– Exodus 12:14 “Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to YHWH; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.”
– Leviticus 11:2 “These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth.”
– Leviticus 23:2-4 “YHWH’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations -My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to YHWH in all your dwellings. These are the appointed times of YHWH, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
– Leviticus 23:24 “In the seventh month on the first of the month (new moon) you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
– Deuteronomy 12:23-25 “But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat. You must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water. Do not eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the eyes of YHWH.
– Deuteronomy 14:3-4 “You shall not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals which you may eat…”
– Deuteronomy 14:26 “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink…”
– Deuteronomy 16:14 “and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.”
– Psalm 81:3 Blow the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
– 1 Corinthians 5:8 “Therefore let us celebrate the feast…”
– Hebrews 4:9-11 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
To say that these issues “are a matter of personal choice” contradicts the Creator’s clear instructions.Ironically, the popular interpretation of Colossians 2:16-17 (& Romans 14:5) actually aligns with the principles of the world that Paul was speaking against just a few sentences earlier in his letter. Colossians 2:8 says “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” The world says “do whatever is right in your own eyes,” but what do the Scriptures say about such a code of conduct?
– Deuteronomy 12:8 “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes.”
– Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”
– Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
– Proverbs 21:2 “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but YHWH weighs the hearts.”
– Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your God which I command you.”
– Mark 7:6-9 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”
– Deuteronomy 12:32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.”
– Isaiah 65:2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts…”
Unfortunately, we have an enemy who has duped many into believing that God’s forever/everlasting/perpetual and for all people instructions are somehow “the commandments and teachings of men” to which Paul was referring.
Paul’s comments in Romans 14 do address matters of personal conviction; however, we cannot place matters addressed by clear, unchanging instructions in this category. For example, the Word does not prohibit drinking alcohol, eating meat, or getting married; however, if you feel led to temperance, to be a vegetarian, or to remain single, then you should do so, but you should not impose this conviction on others because it is not imposed by God.
Colossians 2:20-23 “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) -in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Here, Paul is speaking against the adding of man made regulations; not the abolishment of God’s commandments and teachings.
What Paul actually says in Colossians 2:16 is “let no one judge you” regarding food, drink, festivals, new moons, and sabbath days. Couldn’t he be telling believers that are keeping God’s instructions regarding food, drink, festivals, new moons, and sabbath days not to let others judge them for keeping His instructions? Wouldn’t that interpretation be more consistent with the context of the passage and the rest of God’s word? In verse 17, Paul goes on to say that “these [practices] are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” In other words, these instructions and their practice still point us to things of Christ that still await us in the future. These “shadows” are still useful and still pointing to a future “substance.”
Houdmann goes on to write that “these verses and many others give clear evidence that the Mosaic Covenant laws and ordinances have ended.” Again, his statements does not agree with the whole of scripture and directly contradicts numerous passages. Here are a sampling of Old & New Testament scriptures that teach otherwise.
– Genesis 17:7-14 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
– Exodus 12:14 “Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to YHWH; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.”
– Exodus 12:24 “And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.”
– Exodus 31:16 “Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.”
– Leviticus 16:31 “It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.”
– Leviticus 23:31 “You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.”
– Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to YHWH our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
– Psalm 119:44 So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.
– Ecclesiastes 12:13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
– Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares YHWH, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
– Matthew 5:17-18 “”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
– Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
– Hebrews 10:26-28 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and “the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
– James 1:22 & 25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves…But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
– 1 John 2:3-6 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
– Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
With theses scriptures, we see that it is simply not true that the Law has come to an end.
To make his point about the end of the Law, Houdmann writes “just as making the final payment on a home fulfills that contract and ends one’s obligation to it, so also Christ has made the final payment and has fulfilled the law, bringing it to an end for us all.” His analogy is misleading because it is partially accurate. Christ has perfectly kept the instructions of the Law and has fulfilled our debt/penalty for transgressing it by being our perfect sacrifice, but that does not mean that the Law has come to an end. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3)
“Gentile believers are not grafted into the Judaism of the Mosaic Covenant” writes the author, but what HRM believer has ever made this claim and what is the “Judaism of the Mosaic Covenant?” Judaism did not even exist in the days of Moses, but developed later. Judaism could actually be described as the first (and certainly not the last) man-polluted, offshoot “denomination”/”religion” of the true, original, God-given faith & practice. Houdmann goes on to inaccurately ascribe another view to HR believers saying “if Gentiles are grafted into Israel, becoming Jews…” Being Israel is not the same as being a Jew nor do HR believers make such a claim. The Jews are only a fraction of the whole of Israel.
The author correctly states that “Gentile believers… are grafted into the seed and faith of Abraham.” Just like Rahab, Ruth, and every other foreigner who has ever chosen to embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, the promises of God are universally offered. But Ruth [the Moabitess] said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16) While accurately claiming that Gentile believers are grafted into the seed of Abraham, Houdmann errantly claims that they are not Israel; however, the Word teaches that Israel is the seed of Abraham. Exodus 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever. 1 Chronicles 16:13 O seed of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! The new covenant, to which Christians claim participation in, is explicitly with the 2 houses of Israel, Israel and Judah. Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” If we Gentiles have no part with Israel, we have no part in the new covenant.
Houdmann accurately writes, “God has made Jews and Gentiles into ‘one new man’ in Christ Jesus” and “this ‘new man’ is referring to the Church, the body of Christ,” but the author is mistaken to presume that this “new man,” “the Church,” and “the body of Christ” are distinct from Israel. In the same passage of Ephesians (2:12-13, 19), Paul wrote “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” The church/the assembly/the congregation/ekklesia/qahal/the seed of Abraham is and always has been Israel. The “new man” is the house of Judah and the house of Israel reunited as one kingdom. This uniting of Jews and Gentiles, the regathering of those who are far off/scattered amongst the nations, the restoration of the kingdom, and the renewing of the covenant were foretold long before Paul described them as the “one new man.”
– Deuteronomy 4:25-31 “When you become the father of children and children’s children…and do that which is evil in the sight of YHWH your God so as to provoke Him to anger…YHWH will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where YHWH drives you…There you will serve gods…But from there you will seek YHWH your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul…in the latter days you will return to YHWH your God and listen to His voice. For YHWH your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.”
– Deuteronomy 30:1-6 “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where YHWH your God has banished you, and you return to YHWH your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then YHWH your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where YHWH your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there YHWH your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. YHWH your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover YHWH your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.
– Ezekiel 37:15-28 The word of YHWH came again to me saying, “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions ; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand. The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am YHWH who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.””
‘– Isaiah 49:5 And now says YHWH, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (for I am honored in the sight of YHWH, and My God is My strength), He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
– Jeremiah 16:14-19 “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As YHWH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As YHWH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares YHWH, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks. For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes. I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.” O YHWH, my strength and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit.”
– Hosea 2:16-23 “And in that day, declares YHWH, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know YHWH. And in that day I will answer, declares YHWH, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People,’You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.'”
– Malachi 4:4-6 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of YHWH. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
– Matthew 15:24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
– Luke 1:16-17 “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to YHWH their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children’, and the disobedient to the knowledge of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for YHWH.”
– Luke 1:32-33 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and YHWH Elohim will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
– Luke 1:54-55 “He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
– Luke 1:68-75 “Blessed be YHWH Elohim of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant – as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old – salvation ‘from our enemies’, and ‘from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
– Luke 2:25-32 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Messiah of YHWH. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Y’shua, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, ‘a light of revelation to the Gentiles’, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
– Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom of Israel?”
– Acts 5:31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
– Acts 28:20 “…I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.”
– Romans 9:6-8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
In the author’s second to last paragraph, he writes “nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs; in fact, the opposite is taught.” This statement is misleading because it suggests that the instructions, festivals, and practices taught in the book of Leviticus (and the other 4 books of Moses) are merely “Jewish” customs; however, the Jews did not invent the Torah nor were they its sole recipients. To be clear, although the Jewish people are by far the most clearly recognizable remaining ethnically Israeli people today, they are not nor were they ever the whole of Israel. They have always been one part of the whole of Israel. In Deuteronomy 26:16-18 we see whose “customs” they actually are:
“This day YHWH your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have today declared YHWH to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. YHWH has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments…” All Israel (& not just Judah) received the Torah from YHWH in the wilderness.
Apart from his flawed inference, the core claim Houdmann is trying to make is that “nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed [to practice the Torah].” Again, we find an utterly false claim that is contrary to numerous writings found in both the Old and New Testaments.
– Genesis 17:9-14 God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
– Exodus 12:18-19 ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.
– Exodus 12:37-38 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. A mixed multitude also went up with them…
– Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of YHWH your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
– Leviticus 16:29 “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you”
– Leviticus 17:12 “Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’
– Leviticus 18:26 “But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you.”
– Leviticus 19:18 “you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am YHWH.” (Probably the most widely known & accepted Levitical law)
– Numbers 15:15-16 “As for the assembly/church/congregation/ekklesia/qahal, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before YHWH. There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.”
– Numbers 15:29-30 “You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming YHWH; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
– Deuteronomy 31:12 “Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear YHWH your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.”
– Ecclesiastes 12:13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
– Isaiah 56:1-7 Thus says YHWH, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to YHWH say, “YHWH will surely separate me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says YHWH, “To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Also the foreigners who join themselves to YHWH, to minister to Him, and to love the name of YHWH, To be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the sabbath and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.
– Matthew 5:19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat. 23:2 “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe”
– Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you”
– John 12:20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast…
– John 14:15, 21, 23, & 24 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word…He who does not love Me does not keep My words”
– John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
– Acts 8:27 and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship
– Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (Repentance from what?)
– Acts 15:19-21 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
– Acts 26:19-20 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Repentance from what? What deeds are appropriate?)
– Romans 2:13-15 It is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts.
– 1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast…
– 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.
– 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”
– Ephesians 5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you.
– 2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught…
– 2 Timothy 2:5 If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.
– James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the Law and judges the Law; but if you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it.
– 1 John 2:3-7 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
– 1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also transgresses the Law; and sin is transgression of the Law.
– 1 John5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
Clearly, there are multiple places in the Bible where Gentile believers are instructed to observe the Law.
The author goes on to quote Romans 7:6 suggesting in error that it is proof text that God’s Law does not apply to Gentiles; however, Paul is “speaking to those who know the Law” (Romans 7:1) and, as previously mentioned, Peter warned us in 2 Peter 3:15-17 that Paul’s letters have “things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist” leading to “the error of lawless people.” If Houdmann knew the Law, he would know that it is not lawful to disregard the Law or to teach others to practice such rebellion; therefore, Paul is either a false prophet (see Deuteronomy 13:5) or he meant something different by his comment than what is popularly interpreted. (I don’t recommend it at this time, but for an excellent explanation of Romans 7 understood in the context of the rest of scripture, check out www.yashanet.com/studies/romstudy/text07a.htm.)
Since much of Paul’s writings are “advanced” material, they should not be used to shape our faith & practice without a solid foundation of the “basics.” Hebrews 5:12-14 says “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Christ-followers need to focus on the basics found in the Torah before attempting to understand Paul’s advanced writings.
Just as we must get back to the basics, we must also stop trying to understand our sacred book by starting in the last quarter of the text. Far too often today, Christians read and re-read the “New Testament” with very little knowledge of the front of the Book. Like any other book, beginning our reading at the end leads to confusion, unfounded assumptions about the beginning, and faulty comprehension of the conclusions. May we all return to the foundations of our faith, the basics of our Creator’s word, and apply the example of the Bereans by testing every claim against His word.
Shalom, Luke Schrimsher