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Revive Israel Ministries

© 31 March 2017 Revive Israel Ministries

What are Jewish/Hebrew Roots? - Part One

“Jewish Roots” or “Hebrew Roots” is a very popular subject today in the Body of Christ, with many books, teaching ministries, homepages, etc., on the subject.  After centuries of “Replacement Theology,” and anti-Semitism from the historic church, we are witnessing a revival of Christian “philo-semitism” and positive interest in Israel.  — Today, millions of Christians around the world are getting revelation and Scriptural understanding about the need to positively connect with Israel and the Jewish people. For many, this includes teaching about the “Jewish Roots” which can take many forms::  Torah studies, observing Biblical/Jewish feasts, understanding the “Hebraic” mindset, Holy Land tours, participating in a Passover Seder, standing with Israel politically, etc. etc. 

In this article (and the following 2, 3), we want to take a close look at the “Roots” teaching, which is most often based on the Scripture which speaks most clearly of a Jewish root--the Olive Tree of Romans 11:16-24.  What does the term actually mean in the Biblical context?  How would the Roman Christians, to whom Paul addressed the letter, have understood this teaching?  How should it be applied today?

The Olive Tree and it’s Root-- Romans 11:16-24

The Apostle Paul writes of an Olive Tree of God’s people, its branches, and its root.  The word “root” appears 4 times in verses 16-18.  The overall message of these verses is first a reminder to the gentile, Roman believers (the “wild” branches) that they have been graciously and surprisingly “grafted into” this Olive tree community of God’s people—a tree which for many, many generations had only been “cultivated” among the Jewish nation/people (the “natural,” native, domesticated branches).  The apostle then sternly warns the Romans to not become arrogant or boastful toward these native, Jewish branches, and to remember that it is not you who supports the root but the root supports you(v.18).  While the Apostle clearly identifies three kinds of branches (Jewish believer, gentile believer, Jewish unbelievers—the “broken off” branches), he doesn’t similarly define the root—nor does the Scripture  explicitly label it as a “Jewish” or “Hebrew.” Root.   

Throughout church history, Biblical interpreters have offered four possible definitions of the root: 1) Jesus Himself, the “root and offspring” of David (Rev 22:16). 2) The patriarchs and/or the patriarchal (Abrahamic) covenant, based on verses 11:28-29.  3) The Jewish people/nation of Israel.  4) The 1st century, Jewish believing community, especially represented by the Apostolic, Jerusalem church. 

What do you think?  Please study, meditate on these Scriptures as we continue our study with Part 2 to come soon.  Try, as much as possible, not to “import” any of your theology or ideas to the text; try to imagine that you are a gentile, Roman Christian (some knew Jews, others did not) who is hearing this letter read publicly during a worship meeting.  What would it have sounded like?  Who, or what, is this mysterious root??

Revive Israel in Japan

Andrew and Cody have been touring Japan for the last two weeks. They have been to Nagoya, Tokyo, Sapporo, and Osaka meeting with some of the next generation leaders of the Japanese church. They were so warmly received and can’t wait to come again.

The Lord has been doing something new among the Japanese churches over the past five or six years. During that time, an inter-congregational prayer movement began based on a small network of Japanese churches with a passion for prayer, specifically for Israel. As they prayed, their love for Israel grew. Now, after a series of visits to Israel, they are seeking to develop a greater connection with the believers in Israel. Please pray for wisdom and grace as we continue to cultivate this growing relationship.

Soul for Soul

Asher Intrater goes deeper into the meaning of the word "soul" and shares on the sacrifice of Yeshua for our transgressions.

To watch in English click here.