Copyright © Abel Ramirez. All rights reserved.
For all Christians living today in this Age of Grace, we preach the same and only message the Apostle Paul preached, "We preach Christ! We preach the Gospel!" The power of the Gospel can reach any person of any race in any culture with any "worldview". Did Paul find it necessary to make a distinction between a "Hebrew perspective" and a "Greek perspective", as this author does, in order to spread the Good News? On the contrary, as already seen in Galatians 6:15, he taught in the exact opposite terms, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentiles - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him" Romans 10:12.
The Apostle Paul spoke specifically of his life in Judaism. As a Pharisee, Paul could probably quote most of the Old Testament by memory and followed the "Hebrew model" discussed on pages 138-139 of this book, literally to the letter. His persecution of the church did not stem from a dishonest or selfish heart. He truly believed it was his duty in service to his religion, Judaism. Do the following verses sound like a man advocating the adherence to a "Hebrew perspective" after coming to Christ?
"For you have heard of my previous life in Judaism" (referring to his conversion from Judaism to Christianity) Galatians 1:13. "I was (past tense, this is something he no longer does and is no longer important or necessary) advancing in Judaism (or pursuing the "Hebrew model") beyond many Jews of my own age and was (past tense, this no longer describes him and is no longer important or necessary)extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But (now Paul describes what is different) when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might (continue to preach Judaism or the "Hebrew" model? No!) preach him among the Gentiles" Galatians 1:14-16. Now let's see what the MOST important thing is to Paul after Christ came to him.
"If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh (confidence in his "Jewishness"), I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews (the perfect "Hebrew model"); in regard to the law, a Pharisee, as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness (the "Hebrew model" following the Law of Moses), faultless. But whatever was to my profit (his previous life in Judaism) I now consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (the most important thing to Paul is knowing Christ Jesus, everything else has no value), for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish (his previous life as a zealous Jew in Judaisn), that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,(which he was attempting to do under Judaism and now recognizes the Law of Moses, which defines the "Hebrew model", has no saving power) but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:4-9.
From the time Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus, Paul is zealous for only one thing, as all Christians should be, and that is Jesus Christ: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing Christ Jesus as Lord, adopting Christ's nature and character, and spreading the Good News. Paul preached only one thing and it wasn't Judaism; it wasn't the Law of Moses; it wasn't the "Hebrew model" or a "Hebrew perspective"; it wasn't the study of all the different philosophies and "worldviews." It was JESUS CHRIST, Christ resurrected, Christ the Good News, Christ the Lord! This is not my opinion. This is what the Bible plainly states so anyone who is seeking the truth can read it for themselves.
"At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." Acts 9:20.
"After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." Acts 16:10.
"They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection." Acts 17:18.
"That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome." Romans 1:15.
"It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known" Romans 15:20.
"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." 1 Corinthians 1:17.
"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified" (the answer for all people regardless of their race, "worldview", or culture) 1 Corinthians 1:22.
"Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" 1 Corinthians 1:22.
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:19-20.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Galatians 1:8.
"Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you." 2 Corinthians 10:15-16.
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2.
"For we do not preach ourselves (as this book and the Jewish leaders of Paul's day did who were puffed up with self-importance, pride in themselves, their race, their culture, and people), but Jesus Christ as Lord" 2 Corinthians 4:5.
Nowhere does the Bible ever record that the Apostle Paul preached about a "Hebrew perspective" or the Law of Moses which is the entire basis of the "Hebrew model." "While Galilio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 'This man,' they charged, 'is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law." Acts 18:12-13. The Jews frustration with the teachings of the Apostle Paul was the purpose for the council of Jerusalem detailed in the 15th chapter of the book of Acts! (The book of Acts is the transitional book of the Bible illustrating the passing of mankind from the Law to Grace.) The Jewish believers in Jerusalem were upset at Paul for his work with the Gentile believers in Antioch (who were the first to be called "Christians", Acts 11:25-26) because he was NOT teaching new believers in Christ to follow the Law of Moses, and they were basically calling him on the carpet for it.
"Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees (these were Torah-living Jews that sincerely acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah) stood up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." Acts 15:5. What did the Law of Moses include? It included all the feasts, all the ceremonial laws, all the dietary laws, and every other part of the "Hebrew model." What was Peter's response in defense of Paul? Peter, the disciple of Jesus Christ said, "No! You're wrong!"
Peter said, "Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (What yoke is that? The Law of Moses, the "Hebrew model") No! We believe (Peter, Paul, and Barnabas) it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." Acts 15:10-11. Peter made no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. He includes himself and Jews in general with the Gentiles in saying that it is no longer necessary for any believer to live by the Law of Moses. It is right there in plain English. The "Hebrew model" or a "Hebrew perspective" is NOT what we strive for as Christians. Our model is, and always will be, Jesus Christ and nothing else! As Christians, "we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16. How do we look at life? We look at life through the eyes of Christ living within us. What is our "worldview"? That's simple, two words - Jesus Christ!
"While for the Greek, truth was often a matter of opinion, for the Hebrew, opinion had little to do with truth. After all, when God had spoken, who was man to argue back?" (Page 57) This is another completely misleading statement by the author. It is false and tries to paint the Hebrews as a people who always followed God when nothing could be further from the truth. The Hebrews argued against God all through the Old Testament by their disobedience and in the New Testament their unbelief was demonstrated by their rejection of Christ, which continues to this day. "Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him." Isaiah 1:4. This ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple and their dispersion as a nation,"But they were broken off because of unbelief." Romans 11:20.
Jesus Himself said that anyone, Jew or Gentile, who rejects Him as Lord and Savior, is already condemned and will be condemned for all eternity when they die. "But whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only son." John 3:18. Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, even Jews who faithfully follow the Law of Moses, does not know God at all. "He who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:16. "He who hates me hates my Father as well." John 15:23. For Jews who reject Christ, all their "Jewishness", their "Hebrew tradition", "Hebrew education", "Hebrew perspective", in fact the entire "Hebrew model" they live by, will mean absolutely NOTHING to God when they die. Yet all of these things are hailed in this book as a model for all of us in order to acquire the proper "Hebraic view" for life! Blasphemy! This is not how the Bible defines what it is to be a Christian! This book does not teach people to live and be led by the Spirit of God as the Bible clearly teaches!! "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Romans 8:21. This book does not advocate spreading the Gospel in order to change lives!!
If people don't believe the Gospel, nothing else matters. It doesn't matter how sincere or passionate you are about your beliefs. Sincerity and passion are not the measure of truth! Consider all the Torah-living, sincerely devout Hebrews in the world today that, from their point of view, believe in and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are very passionate about their beliefs. They are committed to the Old Testament. They have a total and complete "Hebrew perspective," and they follow the "Hebrew model" literally to the letter of the Law in education, in worship, in work, in relations with others, and in daily living. According to the Word of God and Jesus Christ Himself, all these devout, sincere, passionate, loving, God-fearing, Torah-living Hebrews are already condemned for all eternity (just as all people who deny Christ are) because of their unbelief which stems from the overwhelming amount of "Hebrew pride" and the stubborn "Hebrew perspective" this book promotes! "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:11-12. "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord" 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9. They reject the Son of God, their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is the ONLY thing that really matters!
The Apostle Paul said the following concerning the Hebrew nation, "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people (the Hebrews) to envy and save some of them." Romans 11:13-14. Today, the nation of Israel is still in need of saving. They are still in need of our love and compassion. They are still in need of the Gospel. They still need Jesus Christ! Our love for the Jewish people and all lost people is best demonstrated by our efforts to bring them the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Jesus and His disciples as well as all of His early followers were Jewish. How did Jesus personally address all the other loving, sincere, God-fearing, Torah-living Hebrews that rejected Him during His life on Earth?
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, (pride in your "Jewishness" - your race, your culture, your perspective) yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (by faith in Christ) John 5:39-44.
"Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire." John 8:43-44.
"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." John 8:47.
"I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:25-27.
The Bible tells us to, "Be imitators of (the ancient Hebrew culture and customs? No!) God, therefore (this is how we do that), as dearly loved children and live a life (following the "Hebrew model"? No!) of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2.
The Bible does not teach us that becoming like Christ means to adopt the culture and customs of the ancient Hebrews or to "act Hebrew." That's ridiculous and totally idolatrous! We become like Christ by adopting His nature and His character by the power of the Holy Spirit. After we are born again, God produces in us His nature which then allows His character to flow from us and it is described as the fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25. These verses clearly define the nature and character of the Spirit of God every Christian should live by and be known for. These qualities are in no way based on race, culture, or customs, Hebrew or otherwise! Our entire lives are a reflection of the nature and character of the God we serve, Jesus Christ!
Would we ever teach people that it is necessary to clothe themselves with ancient Hebrew clothing in order to be like Christ? Of course not! Why? Because, very simply, being a Christian is not about what's on the outside. It's about what's on the inside! The Bible tells us how true believers in Christ are clothed. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15. This is the model we live by! Again, all of these qualities are not based on ANY race, culture, or nation. These are not "Hebrew qualities" as this author would argue. They are based on the nature and character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! He alone is our model!!!
In reading through this book and reviewing the author's claims of the necessity to study the many "worldviews" Christians may encounter and the importance of acquiring a "Hebrew perspective," I am reminded of a true story once told to me by a dear Christian friend.
There was a young seminary student in the class of one of the most respected New Testament scholars in the country. The young student had recently been reading a very popular, yet controversial book by one of the current Christian authors. During one of his lectures, the seminary professor began to teach the class certain things that were in direct contradiction to the claims made by the author of the student's new book. After class, as the rest of the students were making their way out, the young seminary student walked up to his professor, this great scholar of the Bible, and boldly proclaimed, "You're wrong." The professor calmly replied, "Oh, about what?" The young student continued, "What you said in your lecture. You're wrong." With that, the young student proudly presented his new book to the professor and confidently asked, "Have you read this book?" The old Bible scholar looked at his young student and smiled. He calmly turned around to reach for something on his desk. Then, the professor turned back to face his young student. Lifting his old, worn, Bible, he said with a smile, "Have you read this one?" Suddenly, the young student found that all the pride and confidence which were his only a moment ago had left him. The professor continued, "Son, when you learn what's in this book, then we'll talk."
"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Colossians 2:2-4.