Red Flags to Watch for in the Messianic and Natsari Movement
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Among several external sources trying to exterminate and extinguish the rebirth of the Hebraic expression of the First Century Faith are:
· The buy-out and monopolization of the Church of God denomination within Messianic styled ministries. Many Messianic ministries are funded or underwritten and thus owned by the Church of God.
· The infiltration of Orthodox moles within the Messianic and Natsari movements promoting certain doctrines and concepts. Many such groups and their websites can be traced back to a single web IP address.
However, there is none more dangerous than the cultish fringes trying to destroy us from within.
The following are some red flags to watch for within Messianic and Natsari circles that if you see, RUN like Forest Gump!
Extremism is the first thing to watch for and the following are examples of such within our movements.
1. Extreme usages of Hebrew words and the refusal to use their English equivalents.
2. Promotion of their own version of Scripture, usually by the leader of the fringe or splinter movement that has not been subject to a board of translators and linguistic specialists.
3. When the leader IS the Beyt Din (Ruling Body) OR he does not follow the decisions put forth by the ruling majority of his own Bet Din (Ruling Body).
4. Focus on pet doctrines such as: Sacred Name, Calendar, Polygamy, etc.
5. Focusing more on Jewish Tradition, Custom, Halacha, Rabbinic literature such as the Talmud or Mystic Literature such as the Kabblah and Zohar more than the Torah itself.
6. Claiming they have secret knowledge and or doctrine no other movement has.
7. Claiming they are the only legitimate expression of the Messianic and or Natsari movement.
8. Frequent recantation of prophecies and or doctrines and the adoption of new or amended ones.
9. Focusing on Race, Ethnicity, Circumcision, Genealogy and Tribal Affiliation within Israel. This COULD manifest itself in the guise of racism against Gentiles through Black Hebrewism, British Israelitism, Two House Movement, etc.
10. Making one feel guilty or less than when one fails to keep certain Jewish traditions despite one being Torah Obedient.
11. Unbalanced presentation of the Written and Living Torah (Yeshua).
12. Trying to become indistinguishable from their non-believing Orthodox counterparts.
13. Denial of the Messiahship and or Deity of Yeshua.
14. Pagaphobia; making everything not Hebraic and or Jewish pagan. Falsely and ignorantly twisting linguistics and the etymology of words to say Jesus or the word God are pagan names and titles.
15. Discouraging and or denying one relationships with family or friends not affiliated with them or the Messianic / Natsari movement.
16. Using guilt and other forms of manipulation, to obtain money from followers
17. Personally attacking ministries and ministers and not false teachings or doctrines they claim such ministries and ministers are promoting.
18. If they tear down more than edify.
19. Pressuring followers to wear certain clothes that falls outside the realm of Torah, like a certain robe, coat or hat.
20. Forcing followers to forfeit worldly goods and personal property.
21. Communal compound living that is not a legal Kibbutz and that denies or cuts of communication to the outside world.
22. Any form of hate expressed in word or deed against any religious, ethnic, government or lifestyle group. We are to love the person but hate the sin.
23. Focus on Eschatology (End of Days), and Conspiracy Theories more than Torah and Messiah.
24. Claiming that they or their ministry are a manifestation or incarnation of a Supernatural, Divine or Biblical personage. For example that they are the two witnesses or their ministry is the Melchezedikian Priestly order, etc.
25. Disorderly worship which bears the marks of sensuality or animalistic shamanism of ancient and or pagan cults.
26. Refusal to answer questions on doctrine and Scripture.
27. Insistence on accepting and adherence of their interpretation of Scripture without question.
This by no means is an exhaustive or complete list; it nonetheless touches on the main issues plaguing the Messianic and Natsari Movement today.
If you could say yes to anything on the list above in regards to a ministry and or minister you adhere to or follow. Then congratulations, you are likely involved in some form with a cult.
One of Webster’s definitions of a cult is as follows:
“A System of intense religious veneration of a particular person, idea, or object, especially considered spurious or irrational by traditional religious bodies.”
The list above simply gives greater clarity and specificity to Webster’s definition.
Ultimately the litmus test lies in the Written and Living Torah. Does what a particular Messianic and or Natsari group line up with what is in the Written Torah and does this group attempt to walk such principles out in the footsteps of Messiah Yeshua? If you answer, “No”, then what you likely have is a cult on your hands.
Remember, just because one is standing in a garage doesn’t make of a car or a mechanic, likewise just because one claims to be a Messianic or a Natsari believer doesn’t mean they are one. We determine the validity of ones claim by the fruit they bear and hopefully this list will help you become a better “fruit inspector”.
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr