There are all kinds of beliefs in the Hebrew Roots movement. There are Jewish Rabbi’s and people that say that nobody gets along with anybody, whether they are Messianic, Two House, Hebrew Roots or whatever they call themselves. Others are noticing this, and there are factions and in-fighting. Others see it and are taking notice that these movements fight over everything they disagree about instead of coming together about what they agree about. This is not a good thing. Orthodox Jews come along and teach in these groups or are guest speakers and that is what they say about these movements. Some of the worst teaching you will find will be in the Hebrew Roots Movement. It is as bad as anything you will find in Christianity and doing as much damage. We are not going to say that teachers involved in this movement are not believers, but what we will say is that they are taking people away from the “narrow” gate (Matt 7.13). They are taking people through the “broad” gate that leads to destruction, and that is dangerous.
A big Christian eschatological teaching is called the “Rapture.” The “rapture” is a hot potato today and you will hear all kinds of teaching by just mentioning the word. You will hear “There is no such thing. Someone had a dream years ago and that is where it all started.” Then you will hear that there is a Pre-Trib Rapture, and then someone else comes along and says there is a Mid-Trib Rapture, and they will argue. Then there are those who believe in a Post-Trib Rapture. Here’s the problem. People who are doing all this arguing and teaching have no idea about what they are talking about because they are basing what they believe on several passages of Scripture, like 1 Thes 4 and 1 Cor 15.
Then, they will take passages out of context from the Gospels, like “two will be working in the field, one will be taken and the other left” (Matt 24.40-41). But that is referring to when Rome came, and one will be taken captive and the other killed. This also alludes to when Yeshua comes on Yom Kippur. One will be taken to the judgment of the unrighteous and killed, the other survives because they are a believer and goes into the Kingdom (Matt 25). Here’s the first problem. If you can’t establish something from the Tanak, you shouldn’t be dealing with it. When Paul taught the “catching away” of the believers, also called “the gathering”, he had to teach from the only Scripture that he had, the Tanak (“old testament”). 1 Thes 4 and 1 Cor 15 can be found in the Tanak (1 Thes 5.1 says so). Let’s go to 2 Thes 2.1, where it says, “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of the Lord Yeshua Ha Mashiach, and our gathering together to him.” Notice it says “our gathering together to him.” Paul had a doctrine of a “gathering” that he knew was found in the Tanak. There was no “New Testament” when he taught, he had to find this doctrine in the Tanak. He is writing this letter to them, and it is clear they understood what he was writing about and it is not something they have never heard of, it was common knowledge.
2 Thes 2.2-3 goes on to talk about several concepts. It mentions the “day of the Lord” and the “falling away” and we are going to deal with these two concepts. The “day of the Lord” refers to the last 1000 year period of the 7000 year plan of God. But, what many do not realize, the “day of the Lord” is also an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah because the last 1000 year period called the “day of the Lord” or the “Atid Lavo” begins on a Rosh Ha Shannah. The “falling away” should be “departure” and it is a physical departure, to remove a person from one place to another. It can mean “disappearance” or “spiritual departure.” The Greek word for “falling away” is “apostasia” and the idea of a spiritual departure is taught, as in a “falling away” from the faith (usually taught as Christianity). But here is the problem with that interpretation, it is too late. That happened in the first century. That train pulled out of the station years ago, and what has developed is a perversion, a “Frankenstein” monster called Christianity. They interpret this as falling away from the doctrines of Christianity, which is clearly not what Paul had in mind. Christianity departed from the true faith found in the Torah nearly 2000 years ago. We have all been a part of it and it still affects us.
The “gathering” is a physical departure that happens “at the first” which is on the first day of Tishri, Rosh Ha Shannah, the first day of the Day of the Lord. The Greek word used for “falling away” is “apostasia” and this word did not have the meaning of a “spiritual departure” till about 500 years ago in this verse. 16 Greek translations have a “physical departure” and that proves this interpretation. Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar, has a book on 2 Thessalonians that says this word means “to depart” and you must have a word following it that tells you what you are departing from, otherwise it just means to “depart” physically. The departure must come “first.” The word “first” is “proton” and it means “the beginning.” So, this means that this departure comes at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, Tishri 1 (Rosh Ha Shannah). Verse 3 must be taken in context of what he is saying in verse 1, the “gathering together to him at his coming. Then the “man of lawlessness (no Torah) is revealed, the “anomos” one (Torah-less).
2 Thes 2.4-5 goes on to say that this “lawless” one will “display himself as being God” in the Temple (on Nisan 10). This is a clear reference to the false messiah. When Paul was with the Thessalonians, he told them about these things (1 Thes 5.1-2). So, let’s go on to 2 Thes 2.6-8 where it talks about what “restrains” him. We are going to break it down verse by verse because there is valuable information here:
v 6…And you know what restrains (“katecho”= to seize, hold fast to, retain) him (Messiah=Luke 17.30) now (in the first century) so that in his time he may be revealed (“apokalupto”..Luke 17.30..the subject of this chapter-2 Thes 2.1)
v 7…For the mystery (sowd, hidden meaning) of lawlessness (Torah-less-ness) is already at work (at that time in the first century) only he who now restrains (“katecho”=to seize, hold on, retain) will do so until out of the midst (of lawlessness) it comes (in the Greek, it is “it comes” not “he comes”).
v 8…And then that lawless one (false messiah) will be revealed (appears, arises, arrives, becomes born) whom the Lord will slay with the breadth of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming (on Yom Kippur at the end of the Birth-pains-Matt 24.29-31).
The problem with the Christian doctrine of the “Rapture” is there is no Jewish understanding in it. Before we look at this, we need to bring out what happened. We have a crumbling world, and everyone knows it. And we have a crumbling nation, and that is no secret. There is a “survivalist” movement in this country because of deteriorating Police relations, racial problems, economic problems and much more. This “survivalist” movement is very strong in the Hebrew Roots, Two House and Messianic movements. The idea they are promoting is, there isn’t going to be a “rapture” but you are going to go through the “tribulation.” This is so bad that at some Sukkot sites, there is training on how to survive through the Tribulation, and that is what they did at Sukkot.
We don’t know when the Birth-pains will actually begin. We believe that when it starts it will start ten days into the “Day of the Lord” (which began on Tishri 1) on a Yom Kippur (Tishri 10). People say, “But it can’t get much worse” but people have been saying that for over 30 years that we know of, and the truth is, it will get much worse than what we are experiencing right now. We realize that we don’t know how bad it will be before all this actually happens. There is nothing wrong in being prepared, and having food, water and supplies for emergencies. If you live in an area that has bad weather, snowstorms, hurricanes and other things it is a good idea to be prepared. But what we are talking about is almost “para-military” in nature and that is not wisdom. This is a major problem, using prophecy that lacks the Jewish element. Depending on your view, this can be anti-Semitic. Some Christians believe they will be “taken out” and the Jews will be left behind to go through the “tribulation.” Then as the trouble gets worse, they will turn to “Jesus” and be saved, becoming Christians.
What we are going to do, starting in Part 16, is take it back and look at another interpretation, using an article by Louis Ginzberg, the Jewish Encyclopedia and the Talmud to get to what Paul may have been saying on this topic.