Christianity With A Hebrew World View?

Let's think out loud about a form of the Christian faith which is extinct today.

The very concept of a modern Hebrew based Christian Faith is probably repugnant to most modern Christians. Yet, the ancient Hebrews are the very foundation of the Christian Faith. It was born in the ancient Hebrew Faith but altered by Jesus Christ who inaugurated the New Covenant in his death and resurrection. Yet, today, we believe and practice a gentile version of Christianity developed in the 2nd through the 4th centuries. But, what if that change had not occurred?

What if modern gentile Christianity was still held an essentially Hebrew world view? What if spiritual reality was still defined as Israel's prophets understood it? What if the gentiles in ancient times had not redefined the fundamental concepts of the the New Covenant Christian Faith? What if faith and practice were less defined by experience and more defined biblically within its culture? What if we actually understood how the first apostles really thought? What if we understood their teachings completely within their cultural context as Hebrew men living in Judea?

Few of the faithful are aware that the faith we call "Christian" today is mostly an invention of the gentile Roman Catholic Bishops of the 3rd and 4th century. Even modern Protestant doctrinal concepts are about 90% traditional Roman Catholic as much as Protestants would like to think otherwise. Those ancient gentile Bishops were well educated in the Greek philosophers, Aristotle and Plato. Instead of examining the tenants of the faith from a Hebrew cultural perspective (Hebrew World View), they defined the faith in the terminology which they understood: Greek philosophy. Hence, Christianity came to be defined with Greek philosophical and mythological overtones.

There are more similarities between the Greek mythological stories and the Christian faith than there are similarities between modern Christians and the ancient Hebrew prophets. If the New Covenant faith was founded by a Hebrew Messiah and taught by Hebrew apostles, then why is the faith so gentile and doctrine so philosophical and complicated? Why does it not occur to modern Christians that something is incredibly wrong or misguided?

There have been reformers in every century who attempted to bring back the power and strength of the first century apostolic church. However, none ever recognized that to do that effectively there must be a return to a comprehension of Hebrew spiritual reality, the Hebrew world view, upon which their results were based. Reformers have desired, prayed and sought the power of the first century apostolic church without returning to its roots. They desired the results without desiring the root comprehension that produced those results. Without a Hebrew cultural foundation, they accepted whatever supernatural emotions or events as godly without "trying the spirits" for alignment with the ancient Hebrew prophets. Experience, emotions, feelings and philosophical speculation has mostly superseded the Hebrew scriptures in defining the faith.

But what if the church were to return to the ancient Hebrew comprehension of the faith, as understood by Jesus' apostles and the first believers? What if we had not lost the ancient comprehension of the presence and power of God? What would be different today?

If the Hebrew world view had not been lost, so many things modern Christians take for granted would be completely different! The ancient Hebrews, including the first apostles and early believers comprehended many topics of the faith very differently from modern Christians. For example, the ancient Hebrews described the power and presence of God as "wind, breath or light breeze." This was translated as "spirit" in both Latin and English versions. To a gentile "spirit" became an object which was later defined as a thing, a person, a personality even deity. But for a Hebrew, this term is only a description of what they cannot see, never a thing, person or object. "Spirit" was a explanation for observed phenomena. If a miracle occurred or some one prophesied, it was called "spirit" upon a person as a way to explain it.

ESV: Job Chapter 32 [8] But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.

Just this switch to a Hebrew comprehension of spirit would totally change the face of Christianity! Adopting a Hebrew comprehension of spiritual reality would completely change modern Christian doctrine. It would change the the comprehension of what is salvation and how do you know when someone is converted. It would refocus the efforts and practice of Christians, channeling their activities into different directions. Comprehending how the first apostles understood spiritual reality would completely redefine the faith from a "social gospel" into an apostolic gospel of power and a dynamic presence of God in the congregations.

This website and blog revolves around a new to us but ancient comprehension of the Christian faith. It is not truly new or heretical but an effort to return to the Hebrew roots of the faith, bringing forward that comprehension into modern times. It is not "Judaising" insisting on observing Jewish holidays. ceremonies or food restrictions. It is not reverting to any Old Covenant rules. Rather the reformation suggested by this blog is a returning to the faith's Hebrew roots. We promote reverting back to the world view of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and his apostles and make that view of spiritual reality the foundation of modern Christianity.

It is a wonderful journey which this author is traveling. This journey is not complete but the journey begun. Bookmark or subscribe to this blog site to journey along on this excursion into a modern version of the ancient first century Christian Faith.

11 Responses to Christianity With A Hebrew World View?

  1. Frank says:

    I have just found this blog from your post on simple church. If you check my blog you will see where I am coming from.
    My wife and I have a strong burden to return to Hebrew roots, although I have to say not along the lines which seem to be popular amongst some groups.
    Just curious, I may be misreading, but are you saying that the Holy Spirit is not one of the personalities of God, like the father and the son. ie. are you denying the trinity?

  2. John John says:

    Frank,

    God bless you for your willingness to include Hebrew thinking into the modern practice of Christianity.

    I agree that to engage Hebrew thinking into your practice of the faith is not popular although it is gaining ground as people embrace the notion that Jesus and his apostles were Hebrews through and through. They thought and spoke in alignment with the ancient Hebrew prophets as they spread the good news of the New Covenant mediated by Jesus' blood.

    The good news of Jesus is a message based upon facts which are not disputable. It is a message easily understood, irrespective of culture and language. However, the doctrine the apostles' taught in addition to the good news, is within a cultural setting. Modern Christians do not realize that this modern version of the faith does not extend from the first century Hebrew culture but extends from the 4th century gentile culture. The popular version of the faith was established after much wrangling and contention by Roman Catholic bishops in the 4th century. But with the assistance of the Roman Emperor Constantine, their version won out over others and was institutionalized with the political power to enforce its tenants and stamp out all other contenders for "orthodoxy."

    So what difference does that make? All the difference in the world of Christianity! The Hebrew world view expressed by the ancient Hebrew prophets was abandoned and a gentile world view was substituted. The gentile world view is highly influenced and partially defined by the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Modern gentile Christianity is a philosophical version.

    The deity of Jesus was only accepted after much internal fighting among the Roman Catholic bishops during the theological wars of the 3rd and 4th century. A little known fact is that the Nicene Creed was not even written by the bishops at Nicaea. It was written prior to the council by the religious advisor to Constantine, written by Ossius (or Hosius) of Cordova (in Spain). The bishops were forced by Constantine to sign it after a month of wrangling.

    Trinity was established in a similar manner in 381 CE. Trinity was based on the treatise of the "Cappadocian Fathers." These were three Romans citizens schooled in the Greek philosophers who used Christianity to speculate on their philosophical ideas. They wrote numerous treatise between 364 CE and 381 CE. Their philosophical essays were the basis for adopting Trinity at the council of Constantinople in 381 CE.

    Both the deity of Jesus and the personality of the holy spirit are foreign to the Hebrew prophets. Mixing these into a god-head Trinity is totally foreign to the Hebrew prophets. The ancient Hebrews would view this as polytheistic idolatry and many Jewish Christians today take the same view.

    However, I have seen the baptism of the holy spirit evidenced in both Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians (Biblical Unitarians) alike. Comprehending the apostles' doctrine from either a gentile perspective or a Hebrew perspective seems to have little bearing on a humble heart seeking fellowship with his Creator through Jesus Christ. Such is the power of the good news of Jesus and his atoning work!

    In the words of a minister I read lately, "God can bless any mess!"

    — John

  3. Frank says:

    God can bless any mess!
    When the Israelites demanded a king God declared that it was a rejection of His reign over them. God warned them that their king would tax them to the hilt, take their silver and gold and the crops and land, and generally make their lives hell. He said that when the king they demanded, cruelly oppressed them, "don't come a running to me, because I WILL not hear you".
    God then, amazingly, poured out his Spirit on Saul, and they asked, was Saul to be counted amongst the prophets?
    God poured out his spirit on what he had already declared was an act of rebellion!
    If God was not merciful to us when we are stupid, we would never be able to find our way out of the mess we create.

  4. Pingback: Why Understand Our Hebrew Roots? | Freedom In Christ

  5. Bob Bayer says:

    I hope to be your companion as we seek to know the only true God and Juses Christ whom he ahs sent.

  6. bowlegs says:

    Your discussion of the concept of the deity of Jesus raises a couple of issues in my mind.  First, the point is made by popular Christian historians today that Jesus became more "deified" as the four gospels came along.  In Mark, which is claimed to be the first written, Jesus is basically human.  In Matthew and Luke, which they say was written later, the Son of God concept is developed and deification is implied.  Finally, in John, which scholars say was the last to be written, Jesus is   portrayed as deity (consider the opening lines, wherein "the Word" is interpreted by conventional theologians to mean Jesus: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God").  These scholars imply that this progressive deification was intentional and perhaps manipulated by first century orthodox Christians – some argue that John was written in competition with "Thomas Christians" and Gnostics.  I am interested in your take on this line of thought.

    The other issue that comes to me as I read your above posts is the concept of timelessness.  It is my feeling that God must certainly live in a timeless realm.  If one extrapolates this into a belief that the Holy Spirit likewise lives in a timeless realm, and accepts the gospel in that Jesus went on to become the Holy Spirit (or Counselor, or Comforter), then wasn't Jesus always the Holy Spirit?  Does this not make him, in his time here on earth, a human manifestation of the Holy Spirit?

  7. John John says:

    Bowlegs,

    All Bible teachers, popular historians, modern theologians, etc, are modern westernes and think in that cultural and theological pattern. Of course they will see Jesus' deity everywhere because they are pre-disposed to see it … even if it doesn't exist in a passage. They do not use the Old Testament and Hebraic  culture as the primary lens for New Testament interpretation. Neither did the Christian apologist and theologians of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries. So I would expect all those who ignore the Hebrew way of thinking to come to the conclusions they do.

    Your other issue also assumes modern western concepts instead of ancient Hebrew. The ancients never would have thought of holy spirit in objective and material terms like you did and as do most westerners. To the ancient Hebrews, holy spirit was a connection to Jehovah and hence, a mark of authority, not a thing or a person. The expresions "spirit of Christ" and "spirit of Jesus" used in the New Testament indicates functional origin or reason for its presence, not a being or objective thing … in an Hebraic way of thinking.  Jesus never was and is not the holy spirit. That would contradict the whole of the Old Testament concept of Messiah and as prime representative of Jehovah. Jesus a human anointed to that position and responsibility. He did not transform into holy spirit which always existed. He was not a manifestation of spirit — that is gnostism which the New Testament writers vigously resisted.

    For further sudy: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses This is a page that presents a more Hebraic way of interpreting over 200 passages thought to indicate Jesus' deity. Also, you shoud do a google search for "Hebrew Concept of Agency." This is a ancient cultural feature, retained in modern Jewish law, that pervades the whole of scripture but is never explained therein. Once you see it, suddenly it pops up all over in scripture as a underlying concept. This pertains directly in one's thinking about who is Jesus Christ and what he was in Hebrew thinking — i.e. first century Jewish believers and the cultural context of the whole of the New Testament.

    Does this help?

    • bowlegs says:

      Certainly it helps, and I appreciate the quick reply.  This is just exactly the kind of dialogue I've been looking for.  I will read the material you have suggested and fully reconsider my conclusion that Jesus and the holy spirit are one and the same.  However, I cannot resist asking one more question, an unabashed plea for a "jump start": How do you interpret those first words of the Gospel of John?

  8. John John says:

    Bowlegs,

    You're a brave one to attempt to switch your thinking from the traditional western systematic theological way of thinking over to a cultural theological way of thinking. The transition is not easy and makes one an "Unorthordox Believer." I should know, I wrote a book on that topic: http://www.amazon.com/author/jlbrown

  9. Chantal says:

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