Messianic Judaism[a] is a modern syncretic religious movement that combines Christianity—most importantly, the belief that Jesus is the Jewish messiah—with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition. It emerged in the 1960s and 1970s.
Messianic Jews believe that Jesus[b] is the Jewish Messiah and "God the Son" (one person of the Trinity), and that the Tanakh[c] and New Testament are the authoritative scriptures. Salvation in Messianic Judaism is achieved only through acceptance of Jesus as one's savior, and Jewish laws or customs which are followed do not contribute to salvation. Belief in the messiahship of Jesus, his power to save, and his divinity are considered by Jewish authorities to be the defining distinctions between Christianity and Judaism. Other Christian groups usually accept Messianic Judaism as a form of Christianity.
Many adherents of Messianic Judaism are ethnically Jewish and argue that the movement is a sect of Judaism. Many refer to themselves in Hebrew as maaminim (believers), not converts, and yehudim (Jews), not notzrim (Christians). Jewish organizations and the Supreme Court of Israel have rejected this claim in cases related to the Law of Return, and instead consider Messianic Judaism to be a form of Christianity.
From 2003 to 2007, the movement grew from 150 Messianic houses of worship in the United States to as many as 438, with over 100 in Israel and more worldwide; congregations are often affiliated with larger Messianic organizations or alliances. As of 2012[update], population estimates for the United States were between 175,000 and 250,000 members, between 10,000 and 20,000 members for Israel, and an estimated total worldwide membership of 350,000.
Efforts by Jewish Christians to proselytize Jews began in the first century, when Paul the Apostle preached at the synagogues in each city that he visited. However, by the fourth century CE, non-biblical accounts of missions to the Jews[d] do not mention converted Jews playing any leading role in proselytization. Notable converts from Judaism who attempted to convert other Jews are more visible in historical sources beginning around the 13th century, when Jewish convert Pablo Christiani attempted to convert other Jews. This activity, however, typically lacked any independent Jewish-Christian congregations, and was often imposed through force by organized Christian churches.
19th and early 20th centuries
In the 19th century, some groups attempted to create congregations and societies of Jewish converts to Christianity, though most of these early organizations were short-lived. Early formal organizations run by converted Jews include: the Anglican London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews of Joseph Frey (1809), which published the first Yiddish New Testament in 1821;[verification needed] the "Beni Abraham" association, established by Frey in 1813 with a group of 41 Jewish Christians who started meeting at Jews' Chapel, London for prayers Friday night and Sunday morning; and the London Hebrew Christian Alliance of Great Britain founded by Dr. Carl Schwartz in 1866.
The September 1813 meeting of Frey's "Beni Abraham" congregation at the rented "Jews' Chapel" in Spitalfields is sometimes pointed to as the birth of the semi-autonomous Hebrew Christian movement within Anglican and other established churches in Britain. However, the minister of the chapel at Spitalfields evicted Frey and his congregation three years later, and Frey severed his connections with the Society. A new location was found and the Episcopal Jew's Chapel Abrahamic Society registered in 1835.
In Eastern Europe, Joseph Rabinowitz established a Hebrew Christian mission and congregation called "Israelites of the New Covenant" in Kishinev, Ukraine in 1884. Rabinowitz was supported from overseas by the Christian Hebraist Franz Delitzsch, translator of the first modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament. In 1865, Rabinowitz created a sample order of worship for Sabbath morning service based on a mixture of Jewish and Christian elements. Mark John Levy pressed the Church of England to allow members to embrace Jewish customs.
In the United States, a congregation of Jewish converts to Christianity was established in New York City in 1885. In the 1890s, immigrant Jewish converts to Christianity worshiped at the Methodist "Hope of Israel" mission on New York's Lower East Side while retaining some Jewish rites and customs. In 1895, the 9th edition of Hope of Israel's Our Hope magazine carried the subtitle "A Monthly Devoted to the Study of Prophecy and to Messianic Judaism", the first use of the term "Messianic Judaism". In 1894, Christian missionary Leopold Cohn, a convert from Judaism, founded the Brownsville Mission to the Jews in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York as a Christian mission to Jews. After several changes in name, structure, and focus, the organization is now called Chosen People Ministries.
Missions to the Jews saw a period of growth between the 1920s and the 1960s. In the 1940s and '50s, missionaries in Israel, including the Southern Baptists, adopted the term meshichyim (משיחיים, 'messianics') to counter negative connotations of the word notsrim (נוצרים, 'Christians'). The term was used to designate all Jews who had converted to Protestant evangelical Christianity.
Modern-day Messianic Judaism movement, 1960s onwards
The Messianic Jewish movement emerged in the United States in the 1960s. Prior to this time Jewish converts assimilated into gentile Christianity, as the church required abandoning their Jewishness and assuming Gentile ways to receive baptism. Peter Hocken postulates that the Jesus movement which swept the nation in the 1960s triggered a change from Hebrew Christians to Messianic Jews, and was a distinctly charismatic movement. These Jews wanted to "stay Jewish while believeing in Jesus". This impulse was amplified by the results of the Six-Day War and the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish control.
Foundational Messianic organizations
As of 2004[update] there are over 300 Messianic Jewish congregations in the United States with maybe half of their attendance being Gentiles. Many of these congregations belong to the International Association of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS), the Union of Messianic Congregations (UMJC), to Tikkun International.
The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) began in 1915 as the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America (HCAA). As the idea of maintaining Jewish identity spread in the late 1960s, the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America (HCAA) changed its name to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA). David Rausch writes that the change "signified far more than a semantical expression—it represented an evolution in the thought processes and religious and philosophical outlook toward a more fervent expression of Jewish identity." The MJAA was and still is an organization of individual Jewish members. In 1986 the MJAA formed a congregational branch called the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).
In June 1979 nineteen congregations in North America met at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and formed the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC).
"Tikkun International is a Messianic Jewish umbrella organization for an apostolic network of leaders, congregations and ministries in covenantal relationship for mutual accountability, support and equipping to extend the Kingdom of God in America, Israel, and throughout the world."
Messianic Seal of Jerusalem
The Messianic Seal of Jerusalem is a symbol for Messianic Judaism and Christians. The symbol is seen as a depiction of the Menorah, an ancient Jewish symbol, together with the Ichthys, an ancient depictive representation of Christian faith and the community of Jesus followers, creating a Star of David at the intersection. The Messianic Seal is not the only symbol of Messianic Judaism, which has other graphical representations such as the Menorah and Star of David, the cross in the Star of David, among others.
Theology and core doctrines
As with many religious faiths, the exact tenets held vary from congregation to congregation. In general, essential doctrines of Messianic Judaism include views on:
- God: that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, outside creation, infinitely significant and benevolent; viewpoints vary on the Trinity
- Jesus: that he is the Jewish Messiah; views on his divinity vary
- written Torah: Messianic Jews believe, with a few exceptions, that Jesus taught and reaffirmed the Torah and that it remains fully in force
- Israel: the Children of Israel are central to God's plan; replacement theology is opposed
- the Bible: the Tanakh and the New Testament are usually considered the divinely inspired Scripture, though Messianic Judaism is more open to criticism of the New Testament canon than is Christianity
- eschatology: similar to many evangelical Christian views
- oral law: observance varies, but most deem these traditions subservient to the written Torah
Certain additional doctrines are more open to differences in interpretation, including those on sin and atonement and on faith and works.
God, Jesus, and the Trinity
- God the Father—Messianic Jews believe in God and that he is all-powerful, omnipresent, eternally existent outside of creation, and infinitely significant and benevolent. Some Messianic Jews affirm both the Shema and the Trinity, understanding the phrase "the Lord is One" to be referring to "a differentiated but singular deity", and "eternally existent in plural oneness". A small number of Messianic believers profess only a strict view of monotheism, rejecting Trinitarian doctrine.
- God the Son—Most Messianic Jews consider Jesus to be the Messiah and divine as God the Son, in line with mainstream Christianity, and will even pray directly to him. Many also consider Jesus to be their "chief teacher and rabbi" whose life should be copied. Some congregations do not directly ascribe divinity to Jesus, considering him a man—yet not just a man, fathered by the Holy Spirit, who became the Messiah. Even others consider him "Word made flesh" and the "human expression of Divinity".
- God the Holy Spirit—According to some Messianic Jews, the Spirit is introduced in the Old Testament, is the inspirer of prophets, and is the spirit of Truth described in the New Testament.
Scriptures and writings
Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament[e] are usually considered to be the established and divinely inspired Biblical scriptures by Messianic Jews. With a few exceptions, Messianic believers generally consider the written Torah, the five books of Moses, to remain in force as a continuing covenant, revised by Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament, that is to be observed both morally and ritually. Jesus did not annul the Torah, but its interpretation is revised through the Apostolic scriptures.
Jewish oral tradition
There is no unanimity among Messianic congregations on the issue of the Talmud and the Oral Torah. There are congregations which believe that adherence to the Oral Law, as encompassed by the Talmud, is against Messianic beliefs. Similarly, there are congregations which deny the authority of the Pharisees, believing that they were superseded, and their teachings contradicted, by Messianism. There are adherents which call rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud "dangerous", and state that followers of rabbinic and halakhic explanations and commentaries are not believers in Jesus as the Messiah. Other congregations are selective in their applications of Talmudic law, and may believe that the rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud, while historically informative and useful in understanding tradition, are not normative and may not be followed where they differ from the New Testament. Still others encourage a serious observance of Jewish halakha.
Messianic Bible translations
Messianic Jews generally consider the entire Christian Bible to be sacred scripture. Theologian David H. Stern in his "Jewish New Testament Commentary" argues that the writings and teachings of Paul the Apostle are fully congruent with Messianic Judaism, and that the New Testament is to be taken by Messianic Jews as the inspired Word of God.
There are a number of Messianic commentaries on various books of the Bible, both Tanakh and New Testament texts, such as Matthew, Acts, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. David H. Stern has released a one-volume Jewish New Testament Commentary, providing explanatory notes from a Messianic Jewish point of view. Other New Testament commentary authors include Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries, who has written commentaries on the Epistles, Judges & Ruth, and Genesis, and 7 systematic doctrinal studies.
Sin and atonement
Some Messianic believers define sin as transgression of the Torah (Law/Instruction) of God and include the concept of original sin. Some adherents atone for their sins through prayer and repentance—that is, acknowledgment of the wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness for their sins (especially on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). Disagreeing with these rites and practices, other Messianics hold to a belief that all sin (whether committed yet or not) is already atoned for because of Jesus's death and resurrection.
Evangelism and attitudes toward Jews and Israel
Messianic Jews believe God's people have a responsibility to spread his name and fame to all nations. It is believed that the Children of Israel were, remain, and will continue to be the chosen people of the God, and are central to his plans for existence. Most Messianic believers, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, can be said to oppose supersessionism (popularly referred to as replacement theology), the view that the Church has replaced Israel in the mind and plans of God.
There exist among Messianic believers a number of perspectives regarding who exactly makes up God's chosen people. Most commonly, Israel is seen as distinct from the church; Messianic Jews, being a part of both Israel and the church, are seen as the necessary link between the 'gentile' People of God and the commonwealth of God's people of Israel. The two-house view, and the one law/grafted-in view are held by many identifying as Messianic, although some Messianic groups do not espouse these theologies. According to certain branches of Messianic Judaism, Jews are individuals who have one or more Jewish parents, or who have undergone halakhic conversion to Judaism. Others accept all who accept Jesus into their hearts and confess that he is Lord.
One Law theology
One Law theology (aka One Torah for All) teaches that anyone who is a part of Israel is obligated to observe the Covenant and its provisions as outlined in the Torah. Dan Juster of Tikkun, and Russ Resnik of the UMJC, have argued against the One Law movement's insistence on Gentiles being required to observe the entirety of Torah in the same way as Jews. Tim Hegg responded to their article defending what he believes to be the biblical teaching of "One Law" theology and its implications concerning the obligations of Torah obedience by new Messianic believers from the nations. The Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations (CTOMC) likewise rejects bi-lateral Ecclesiology in favor of the One Torah for All (one Law) position.
Two House theology
Proponents of Two House theology espouse their belief that the phrase "House of Judah" in scripture refers to Jews, while "the House of Israel" refers to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, or Ephraim. Where scripture states the House of Israel and Judah will again be "one stick" (Ezekiel 37:15–23), it is believed to be referring to the End Times, immediately prior to the Second Coming, when many of those descended from Israel will come back to Israel. Advocates of this theology postulate that the reason so many "gentiles" are converting to Messianic Judaism is that the vast majority of them are truly Israelites. Like One Law groups, the Two House movement has many superficial similarities to Messianic Judaism, such as their belief in the ongoing validity of the Mosaic Covenant. While much of the Two House teaching is based on interpretations of Biblical prophecy, the biggest disagreements are due to inability to identify the genealogy of the Lost Tribes. Organizations such as the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations have explicitly opposed the Two House teaching.
Historically, Christianity has taught supersessionism (replacement theology), which implies or outright states that Christianity has superseded Judaism, and that the Mosaic Covenant of the Hebrew Bible has been superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus, wherein salvation is brought about by the grace of God, and not by obedience to the Torah. This is generally complemented with the concept of God having transferred the status of "God's people" from the Jews to the Christian Church. Messianic Jews, in varying degrees, challenge both thoughts, and instead believing that although Israel has rejected Jesus, it has not forfeited its status as God's chosen people (Matthew 5:17). Often cited is Romans 11:29: "for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable". The core of supersessionism, in which the Mosaic Covenant is canceled, is less agreed upon. Though the mitzvot may or may not be seen as necessary, most are still followed, especially the keeping of Shabbat and other holy days.
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All Messianic Jews hold to certain eschatological beliefs such as the End of Days, the Second Coming of Jesus as the conquering Messiah, the re-gathering of Israel, a rebuilt Third Temple, a resurrection of the dead, and many believe in the Millennial Sabbath, although some are Amillenialist. Some Messianic Jews believe that all of the Jewish holidays, and indeed the entire Torah, intrinsically hint at the Messiah, and thus no study of the End Times is complete without understanding the major Jewish Festivals in their larger prophetic context. To certain believers, the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot were fulfilled in Jesus's first coming, and Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot will be at his second. Some also believe in a literal 7000-year period for the human history of the world, with a Millennial Messianic kingdom prior to a final judgment.
There is a variety of practice within Messianic Judaism regarding the strictness of Torah observance. Generally, Torah observant congregations observe Jewish prayers, biblical feasts, and Sabbath. While most traditional Christians deny that the ritual laws and specific civil laws of the Torah apply to gentiles, certain passages regarding Torah observance in the New Testament are cited by some Messianic believers as proof that Torah was not abolished for Jews. They point out that in Acts 21, Jewish believers in Jerusalem are described as "zealous for the Law".
Sabbath and holiday observances
Some Messianic Jews observe Shabbat on Saturdays. Worship services are generally held on Friday evenings (Erev Shabbat) or Saturday mornings. According to the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship (SBMF), services are held on Saturday to "open the doors to Jewish people who also wish to keep the Sabbath". The liturgy used is similar to that of a Jewish siddur with some important differences including the omission of "salvation by works" as the Messianic belief is salvation through Jesus. Other branches of the movement have attempted to "eliminate the elements of Christian worship [such as frequent communion[f]] that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots". Almost all such congregations in Israel observe Jewish holidays, which they understand to have their fulfillment in Jesus."
The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council recommends the observance of Jewish holidays. Most larger Messianic Jewish congregations follow Jewish custom in celebrating the three biblical feasts (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot), as well as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.
The observance of the kashrut dietary laws is a subject of continued debate among Messianic Jews. Some Messianic believers keep kosher purely for the purposes of evangelism to Jewish people. Most avoid pork and shellfish, but there is disagreement on more strict adherence to kosher dietary laws.
Conversion to Messianic Judaism
Large numbers of those calling themselves Messianic Jews are not of Jewish descent, but join the movement anyway as they "enjoy the Messianic Jewish style of worship". Messianic perspectives on "Who is a Jew?" vary. The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, acknowledges a Jew as one born to a Jewish mother, or who has converted to Judaism. Copying from the Reform stream of Judaism, the Council also recognizes as a Jew one who was born to a Jewish father but not a Jewish mother on the condition that the family of the child, or the individual as an adult, has undertaken public and formal acts of identification of the individual with the Jewish faith and people. The MJAA accepts Gentiles into their congregations, but views Gentiles and Jews as spritually distinct and conversion as an "unbiblical practice". Other Messianic organizations hold to similar views.
Some within the Ephraimite movement seek to convert themselves for identification with Israel, but most Messianic governing bodies acknowledge the presence of gentiles in the congregations, and do not see a need for them to convert to worship in the Messianic style and understanding. When conversion is sincerely desired by a gentile Messianic believer, Messianic Jewish halachic standards (including circumcision) are imposed to maintain integrity among the world Messianic Jewish community.
Use of Hebrew names and vocabulary in English
The movement generally avoids common Christian terms, such as Jesus, Christ, or cross and prefers to use Hebrew or Aramaic terms.
Messianic Jewish hymns differ from evangelical Christian ones in their focus on Israel's role in history and messianic hope. Other differences include reference to Jesus—usually using the name Yeshua—as the Savior of Israel. Messianic hymnals often also incorporate Israeli songs. The movement also has several recording artists who consider their music to be Messianic in message, such as Joel Chernoff of the duo Lamb, Ted Pearce, and Chuck King.
Reception of the movement
Reception among mainstream Christianity
In the United States, the emergence of the Messianic Jewish movement created some stresses with other Jewish-Christian and missionary organization. In 1975, the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews condemned several aspects of the Messianic Jewish movement.
In Israel, the linguistic distinction between Messianic Jews and mainstream Christians is less clear, and the name meshihiy (משיחי, 'messianic') is commonly used by churches in lieu of notsri (נוצרי, 'Christian'). The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church, based at Christ Church, Jerusalem, an organization that is ecumenical in outlook and operates an interfaith school in Jerusalem, gives some social support to Messianic Jews in Israel.
Reception among Jews
As in traditional Jewish objections to Christian theology, opponents of Messianic Judaism hold that Christian proof texts, such as prophecies in the Hebrew Bible purported to refer the Messiah's suffering and death, have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. Jewish theology rejects the idea that the Messiah, or any human being, is a divinity. Belief in the Trinity is considered idolatrous by most rabbinic authorities. Even if considered shituf (literally, "partnership")—an association of other individuals with the God of Israel—this is only permitted for gentiles, and that only according to some rabbinic opinions. It is universally considered idolatrous for Jews. Further, Judaism does not view the role of the Messiah to be the salvation of the world from its sins, an integral teaching of Christianity and Messianic Judaism.
Jewish opponents of Messianic Judaism often focus their criticism on the movement's radical ideological separation from traditional Jewish beliefs, stating that the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah creates an insuperable divide between the traditional messianic expectations of Judaism, and Christianity's theological claims. They state that while Judaism is a messianic religion, its messiah is not Jesus, and thus the term is misleading. All denominations of Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations, reject Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism. Regarding this divide, Reconstructionist Rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro observed: "To embrace the radioactive core of goyishness—Jesus—violates the final taboo of Jewishness.…Belief in Jesus as Messiah is not simply a heretical belief, as it may have been in the first century; it has become the equivalent to an act of ethno-cultural suicide."
B'nai Brith Canada considers messianic activities as antisemitic incidents. Rabbi Tovia Singer, founder of the anti-missionary organization Outreach Judaism, noted of a Messianic rabbi in Toledo: "He's not running a Jewish synagogue.…It's a church designed to appear as if it were a synagogue and I'm there to expose him. What these irresponsible extremist Christians do is a form of consumer fraud. They blur the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity in order to lure Jewish people who would otherwise resist a straightforward message."
Association by a Jewish politician with a Messianic rabbi, inviting him to pray at a public meeting, even though made in error, resulted in nearly universal condemnation by Jewish congregations in Detroit in 2018, as the majority opinion in both Israeli and American Jewish circles is to consider Messianic Judaism as Christianity and its followers as Christians.
Response of Israeli government
Messianic Jews are considered eligible for the State of Israel's Law of Return only if they can also claim Jewish descent. An assistant to one of the two lawyers involved with an April 2008 Supreme Court of Israel case explained to the Jerusalem Post that Messianic Jews who are not Jewish according to Jewish rabbinic law, but who had sufficient Jewish descent to qualify under the Law of Return, could claim automatic new immigrant status and citizenship despite being Messianic. The state of Israel grants Aliyah (right of return) and citizenship to Jews, and to those with Jewish parents or grandparents who are not considered Jews according to halakha, e.g. people who have a Jewish father but a non-Jewish mother. The old law had excluded any "person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion", and an Israeli Supreme Court decision in 1989 had ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion. However, on April 16, 2008, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in a case brought by a number of Messianic Jews with Jewish fathers and grandfathers. Their applications for Aliyah had been rejected on the grounds that they were Messianic Jews. The argument was made by the applicants that they had never been Jews according to halakha, and were not therefore excluded by the conversion clause. This argument was upheld in the ruling.
The International Religious Freedom Report 2008, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the US, stated that discrimination against Messianic Jews in Israel was increasing. Some acts of violence have also occurred such as incident on March 20, 2008, a bomb concealed as a Purim gift basket was delivered to the house of a prominent Messianic Jewish family in Ariel, in the West Bank, which severely wounded the son. Eventually, Yaakov Teitel was arrested for the attempted murder.
This antagonism has led to harassment and some violence, especially in Israel, where there is a large and militant Orthodox community. Several Orthodox organizations, including Yad L'Achim, are dedicated to rooting out missionary activity in Israel, including the Messianic Jewish congregations. One tactic is to plaster posters asking Israelis to boycott shops where Messianic Jews are owners or employees; another is to report Messianic Jews to the Interior ministry, which is charged with enforcing an Israeli law forbidding proselytizing. In another incident, the mayor of Or Yehuda, a suburb of Tel Aviv, held a public book-burning of literature passed out to Ethiopian immigrants. He later apologized for the action.
Response of US governments
The US Navy made a decision that Messianic Jewish chaplains must wear as their insignia the Christian cross, and not the tablets of the law, the insignia of Jewish chaplains. According to Yeshiva World News, the Navy Uniform Board commanded that Michael Hiles, a candidate for chaplaincy, wear the Christian insignia. Hiles resigned from the program, rather than wear the cross. Rabbi Eric Tokajer, a spokesman for the Messianic Jewish movement, responded that "This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system."
- Chosen People Ministries (CPM).
- HaYesod ("the foundation") is a discipleship course that respectfully explores the Jewish foundation of Christianity. There are currently 259 HaYesod study groups of five or more members.
- International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).
- The Jerusalem Council, an organization seeking to become a ruling council for Messianic believers worldwide.
- Jews for Jesus (contested).
- Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA).
- Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council
- Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC).
- Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת מְשִׁיחִית Yehudot mešiḥit; followers called either יְהוּדִים מְשִׁיחִיִּים Yehudim mešiḥiyim or simply נוֹצְרִים nocirim (Christians)
- Messianic Jews often believe only in using the original Hebrew name of Yeshua or one of the variants like "Yahshua". They also believe in using the Hebrew "HaMeshiach" instead of the word Christ. They only use Jesus Christ when addressing Gentile Christians for the sake of ecumenism and understanding.
- The Tanakh content broadly corresponds to the Christian Old Testament, though is structured differently. Messianic Jews mainly use the Tanakh name & ordering.
- Such as Epiphanius of Salamis' record of the conversion of Count Joseph of Tiberias and Sozomen's accounts of other Jewish conversions.
- The name of the New Testament is often translated back into Hebrew as "Brit Chadasha". This directly means "New Covenant", however it must be noted "Testament" is traditionally taken from the Latin translation of "Chadasha"(testamentum) and therefore it can mean both English words.
- Communion is in Messianic Judaism often celebrated as a fully reenacted Passover Seder meal, in accordance with its description in the Synoptic Gospels, making it slightly more difficult to setup and more lengthy.
References and Works Cited
- Kessler 2005, p. 292: "[Messianic Judaism's] syncretism confuses Christians and Jews…"
- Ariel 2000, p. 223.
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 179.
- Ariel 2006, p. 191: "In the late 1960s and 1970s, both Jews and Christians in the United States were surprised to see the rise of a vigorous movement of Jewish Christians or Christian Jews. For many observers, such a combination seemed like an oxymoron, because they saw the two faiths as completely separate from each other. While Christianity started in the first century of the Common Era as a Jewish group, it quickly separated from Judaism and claimed to replace it; ever since the relationship between the two traditions has often been strained. But in the twentieth century, groups of young Jews claimed that they had overcome the historical differences between the two religions and amalgamated Jewish traditions and customs with the Christian faith. Attempting to overcome the historical difference between the two religious traditions, these Jewish converts to Christianity define themselves as Messianic Jews, thus pointing to the movements ideology of returning to the roots of the Christian faith."
- Melton 2005, p. 373: "Messianic Judaism is a Protestant movement that emerged in the last half of the 20th century among believers who were ethnically Jewish but had adopted an Evangelical Christian faith.…By the 1960s, a new effort to create a culturally Jewish Protestant Christianity emerged among individuals who began to call themselves Messianic Jews.
- Feher 1998, p. 140: "This interest in developing a Jewish ethnic identity may not be surprising when we consider the 1960s, when Messianic Judaism arose."
- Ariel 2006, p. 194: "But the generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s thought differently about these matters. They wanted to make their own choices and did not feel constrained by old boundaries and taboos. Judaism and Christianity could go hand in hand.…In the first phase of the movement, during the early and mid-1970s, Jewish converts to Christianity established several congregations at their own initiative.…The term Messianic Judaism came into public use in America in the early 1970s.…The term, however was not entirely new. It was used in the internal debates in the community of converts as early as the beginning of the century.…Missionaries, such as the Southern Baptist Robert Lindsey noted that for Israeli Jews, the term notzrim, "Christians" in Hebrew, meant, almost automatically, a alien hostile religion. Because such a term made it nearly impossible to convince Jews that Christianity was their religion, missionaries sought a more neutral term.…They chose Meshychim, Messianic, to overcome the suspicion and antagonism of the term notzrim.…It conveyed the sense of a new, innovative religion rather that [sic] an old, unfavorable one. The term was used in reference to those Jews who accepted Jesus as their personal savior, and did not apply to Jews accepting Roman Catholicism who in Israel have called themselves Hebrew Christians.
- Lewis 2001, p. 179: "The origins of Messianic Judaism date to the 1960s when it began among American Jews who converted to Christianity."
- Cohn-Sherbok 2010, p. 100: "In the 1970s a number of American Jewish converts to Christianity, known as Hebrew Christians, were committed to a church-based conception of Hebrew Christianity. Yet, at the same time, there emerged a growing segment of the Hebrew Christian community that sought a more Jewish lifestyle. Eventually, a division emerged between those who wished to identify as Jews and those who sought to pursue Hebrew Christian goals.…In time, the name of the movement was changed to Messianic Judaism.
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 170.
- "Statement of Faith". Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. July 19, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
There is one God, who has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every divine action in the world is accomplished by the Father working through the Son and in the power of the Spirit. This God has revealed Himself in creation and in the history of Israel as transmitted in Scripture.…In the fullness of time, the Divine Son became a human being—Yeshua the Messiah, born of a Jewish virgin, a true and perfect Israelite, a fitting representative and one-man embodiment of the entire nation. He lived as a holy tzaddik, fulfilling without blemish the mitzvot of the Torah. He brings to perfection the human expression of the divine image.…Yeshua died as an atonement for the sins of Israel and of the entire world. He was raised bodily from the dead, as the firstfruits of the resurrection promised to Israel as its glorification. He ascended to heaven and was there enthroned at God's right hand as Israel's Messiah, with authority extending to the ends of creation.…Forgiveness of sins, spiritual renewal, union with Messiah, the empowering and sanctifying presence of the indwelling Ruach Ha Kodesh, and the confident hope of eternal life and a glorious resurrection are now available to all, Jews and Gentiles, who put their faith in Yeshua, the Risen Lord, and in obedience to His word are joined to Him and His Body through immersion and sustained in that union through Messiah's remembrance meal. Yeshua is the Mediator between God and all creation, and no one can come to the Father except through Him.…Messiah Yeshua will return to Jerusalem in glory at the end of this age, to rule forever on David's throne. He will effect the restoration of Israel in fullness, raise the dead, save all who belong to Him, judge the wicked not written in the Book of Life who are separated from His presence, and accomplish the final Tikkun Olam in which Israel and the nations will be united under Messiah's rule forever.…The writings of Tanakh and Brit Hadasha are divinely inspired and fully trustworthy (true), a gift given by God to His people, provided to impart life and to form, nurture, and guide them in the ways of truth. They are of supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
- Ariel 2006, p. 208
- "Do I need to be Circumcised?". JerusalemCouncil.org. February 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
To convert to the Jewish sect of HaDerech, accepting Yeshua as your King is the first act after one's heart turns toward HaShem and His Torah – as one can not obey a commandment of God if they first do not love God, and we love God by following his Messiah. Without first accepting Yeshua as the King and thus obeying Him, then getting circumcised for the purpose of Jewish conversion only gains you access to the Jewish community. It means nothing when it comes to inheriting a place in the World to Come.... Getting circumcised apart from desiring to be obedient to HaShem, and apart from accepting Yeshua as your King, is nothing but a surgical procedure, or worse, could lead to you believe that Jewish identity grants you a portion in the World to Come – at which point, what good is Messiah Yeshua, the Word of HaShem to you? He would have died for nothing!... As a convert from the nations, part of your obligation in keeping the Covenant, if you are a male, is to get circumcised in fulfillment of the commandment regarding circumcision. Circumcision is not an absolute requirement of being a Covenant member (that is, being made righteous before HaShem, and thus obtaining eternal life), but it is a requirement of obedience to God's commandments, because circumcision is commanded for those who are of the seed of Abraham, whether born into the family, adopted, or converted.... If after reading all of this you understand what circumcision is, and that is an act of obedience, rather than an act of gaining favor before HaShem for the purpose of receiving eternal life, then if you are male believer in Yeshua the Messiah for the redemption from death, the consequence of your sin of rebellion against Him, then pursue circumcision, and thus conversion into Judaism, as an act of obedience to the Messiah.
- Simmons, Shraga. "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Aish HaTorah. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because: 1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. 2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah. 3. Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations. 4. Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
- Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews". United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
Hebrew Christian, Jewish Christian, Jew for Jesus, Messianic Jew, Fulfilled Jew. The name may have changed over the course of time, but all of the names reflect the same phenomenon: one who asserts that s/he is straddling the theological fence between Judaism and Christianity, but in truth is firmly on the Christian side ... we must affirm as did the Israeli Supreme Court in the well-known Brother Daniel case that to adopt Christianity is to have crossed the line out of the Jewish community.
- "Missionary Impossible". Hebrew Union College. August 2, 1999. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
Missionary Impossible, an imaginative video and curriculum guide for teachers, educators, and rabbis to teach Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to "Jews-for-Jesus", "Messianic Jews", and other Christian proselytizers, has been produced by six rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Cincinnati School. The students created the video as a tool for teaching why Jewish college and high school youth and Jews in intermarried couples are primary targets of Christian missionaries.
- Glazier, James Scott (2012-09-06). "What are the main differences between a Jew and a Christian?". ReformJudaism.org. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
The essential difference between Jews and Christians is that Christians accept Jesus as messiah and personal savior. Jesus is not part of Jewish theology. Amongst Jews, Jesus is not considered a divine being.
- "FAQ's About Jewish Renewal". aleph.org. 2007. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
What is ALEPH's position on so called messianic Judaism? ALEPH has a policy of respect for other spiritual traditions, but objects to deceptive practices and will not collaborate with denominations which actively target Jews for recruitment. Our position on so-called "Messianic Judaism" is that it is Christianity and its proponents would be more honest to call it that.
"Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Ask the Rabbi. Jerusalem: Ohr Somayach. 2000. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
The Christian idea of a trinity contradicts the most basic tenet of Judaism – that G-d is One. Jews have declared their belief in a single unified G-d twice daily ever since the giving of the Torah at Sinai – almost two thousand years before Christianity. The trinity suggests a three part deity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry; one of the three cardinal sins for which a person should rather give up his life than transgress. The idea of the trinity is absolutely incompatible with Judaism.
- Lotker 2004, p. 35: "It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with 'Jews for Jesus' or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian.
- Harries 2003, p. 119: "Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah.…They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity."
- Harris-Shapiro 1999, p. 3: "And while many evangelical Churches are openly supportive of Messianic Judaism, they treat it as an ethnic church squarely within evangelical Christianity, rather than as a separate entity.
- Kessler 2005, pp. 292—293: "Messianic Judaism is proactive in seeking Jewish converts and is condemned by the vast majority of the Jewish community. Although a Jewish convert to Christianity may still be categorised a Jew according to a strict interpretation of the halakhah (Jewish law), most Jews are adamantly opposed to the idea that one can convert to Christianity and still remain a Jew or be considered part of Jewish life. From a mainstream Christian perspective Messianic Judaisms can also provoke hostility for misrepresenting Christianity.
- "Jewish Conversion". JerusalemCouncil.org. 2009. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
Many people ask how to convert to Judaism through the Jewish sect of HaDerech, also known as The Way, or Messianic Judaism.
- "Our History". Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. 2017. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
These factors lead many Jewish people to assume that to follow Yeshua is to leave the faith of their fathers and become non-Jewish. The MJAA has worked to combat this misperception for almost a century.
- "Jewish Conversion". JerusalemCouncil.org. 2009. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- Spector 2008, p. 116
- Berman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
In rejecting their petition, Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon cited their belief in Jesus. 'In the last two thousand years of history…the Jewish people have decided that messianic Jews do not belong to the Jewish nation…and have no right to force themselves on it,' he wrote, concluding that 'those who believe in Jesus, are, in fact Christians.'
- Schoeman 2003, p. 351: "By the mid 1970s, Time magazine placed the number of Messianic Jews in the US at over 50,000; by 1993 this number had grown to 160,000 in the US and about 350,000 worldwide (1989 estimate).…There are currently over 400 Messianic synagogues worldwide, with at least 150 in the US."
- Yeoman, Barry (November 15, 2007). "Evangelical movement on the rise". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
- Posner, Sarah (November 29, 2012). "Kosher Jesus: Messianic Jews in the Holy Land". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- Barnett, Paul (2002). "17.4 The Churches of Paul". Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times (Google Books). Westmont, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. p. 367. ISBN 978-0-8308-2699-5. LCCN 99036943. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
Nonetheless, Paul appears always to have preached first in the synagogues to offer his fellow Israelites the first opportunity to hear about their Messiah ( cf. Rom 1:16).
- Stemberger, Günter (2000). Jews and Christians in the Holy Land: Palestine in the Fourth Century. Continuum. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-567-08699-0.
- Flannery, Edward H. (1985) . "An Oasis and an Ordeal". The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism (Google Books) (3rd revised ed.). Paulist Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-8091-4324-5. LCCN 85060298. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Ariel 2006, p. 192.
- Moscrop, John James (2000). "Remembering Jerusalem: 1799–1839". Measuring Jerusalem: The Palestine Exploration Fund and British Interests in the Holy Land. A & C Black. p. 15. ISBN 9780718502201.
... the perspective of the Holy Land the most important of these societies was the London Jews' Society. Founded in 1809 during the high point of evangelical endeavour, the London Jews' Society was the work of Joseph Samuel Frederick Frey ...
- Greenspoon, Leonard Jay (1997). Yiddish language & culture then & now. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-1881871255.
The first Yiddish New Testament distributed by the BFBS was published by the London Jews Society in 1821; the translator was Benjamin Nehemiah Solomon, "a convert from Judaism, who [had come] over to England from Poland.
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 16: "On 9 September 1813 a group of 41 Jewish Christians established the Beni Abraham association at Jews' Chapel. These Jewish Christians met for prayer every Sunday morning and Friday evening."
- Schwartz, Carl (1870). "An Answer to Friends and Foes". The Scattered Nation. No. V. London. p. 16. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
What does the Hebrew-Christian Alliance signify? is asked by well-wishers and opponents. True, its objects have been clearly stated.... Let me try briefly to state the nature and objects of the Hebrew-Christian Alliance.
- Sobel 1968, pp. 241–250: "Hebrew Christianity was born in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century through the efforts of a group of converts calling themselves the Beni Abraham, or Sons of Abraham. It was on 9 September 1813 that a group of forty-one Jewish converts to Christianity met in London setting forth their purposes as being 'to attend divine worship at the chapel and to visit daily two by two in rotation any sick member, to pray with him and read the Bible to him; and on Sunday all who could were to visit the sick one'."
- Gidney 1908, p. 57: "The Jews' Chapel, Spitalfields, had to be given up in 1816, as the minister refused his consent to its being licensed as a place of worship of the Church of England. Frey's connexion with the Society ceased in the same year, and he left for America."
- Cohn-Sherbok 2003.
- Kessler 2005, p. 180.
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, pp. 18, 19, 24.
- Ariel 2000, p. 19.
- The Missionary review of the world No. 35 Royal Gould Wilder, Delavan Leonard Pierson, James Manning Sherwood – 1912 "The letter to Joseph Rabinowitz brought an encouraging answer and also a few copies of the New Testament translated into Hebrew by Franz Delitzsch. They gave Scheinmann the thought to organize a class of young men for their study"
- "The Only One in America: A Hebrew-Christian Church Dedicated Yesterday", The New York Times, October 12, 1885. p. 2. Archived at The Online Jewish Missions History Project.
- Ariel 2000, p. 9.
- Rausch 1982b.
- Harris-Shapiro 1999, p. 27.
- Balmer 2004, pp. 154–155
- Ariel 2000, p. 191.
- Juster & Hocken 2004, p. 15.
- Hocken 2009, pp. 97-100.
- Kinzer 2005, p. 286: "The cultural ferment of the 1960s threw Hebrew Christians in America and their institutions into the same turmoil that characterized the rest of American society. Three factors played an especially important part in turning their world upside down: a social movement (i.e., the youth counterculture), a cultural trend (i.e., ethnic self-assertion and pride), and a political-military event (i.e., the Six-Day War)."
- Harris-Shapiro 1999, p. 286.
- Juster & Hocken 2004, p. 10.
- Juster 1995, pp. 152–153: "In 1975, the Alliance changed its name to the Messianic Jewish Alliance, reflecting the growing Jewish identity of Jewish followers of Yeshua.…Hebrew-Christianity, at times, saw Jewishness as merely an ethnic identity, whereas Messianic Judaism saw its Jewish life and identity as a continued call of God."
- Rausch 1982a, p. 77.
- Robinson, Rich (2005). The Messianic Movement: A Field Guide for Evangelical Christians. San Francisco: Purple Pomegranate. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-881022-62-6.
- "Home". IAMCS. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
As more and more congregations were formed, many within the MJAA had a desire to form a fellowship of Messianic congregations or synagogues under the auspices of the MJAA.…As a result, in the spring of 1986, The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS) was formed.
- Juster 1995, p. 155.
- Beer, Michael (2005). "The Jerusalem Messianic Seal. A Mystery". Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- Nerel, Gershon (2001). "Symbols used by Messianic Judaism in Israel Today". International Messianic Jewish Alliance. Archived from the original on June 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- Schmalz, Reuven Efraim, Raymond Robert Fischer; Fischer, Raymond Robert (1999). The Messianic seal of the Jerusalem church. Tiberias, Israel: Olim Publications. ISBN 978-965-222-962-5. OCLC 48454022.
- "How Many Distinct Symbols Do You See??". Threemacs.org. 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- "Belief". IAMCS. Havertown, Pennsylvania: International Alliance of Messianic Congregations & Synagogues. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "Our Beliefs". The Harvest. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
We aim to influence every realm of society, in this generation and for generations to come, for the glory of Messiah and His Kingdom until He returns to judge the living and the dead.…We believe that the Torah (five books of Moses) is a comprehensive summary of God's foundational laws and ways, as found in both the Tanakh and Apostolic Scriptures. Additionally, the Bible teaches that without holiness no man can see God. We believe in the Doctrine of Sanctification as a definite, yet progressive work of grace, commencing at the time of regeneration and continuing until the consummation of salvation. Therefore we encourage all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, to affirm, embrace, and practice these foundational laws and ways as clarified through the teachings of Messiah Yeshua.…We believe Gentiles who place their faith and trust in Yeshua the Messiah as Lord and Savior, are grafted into Israel through a born again experience. This new birth results in a new identity. This new identity is a child of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As a result, this new child is adopted into the family and ethnos of Israel and becomes a full member and fellow heir of the covenants of promise and blessings made to Israel. The Gentiles who are grafted into Israel do not replace her. Rather, they participate with her as the chosen ones from among the nations who are also called to be a part of His treasured people Israel. In terms of their adoption into the household of God, these newly adopted Gentile children are to be treated as if they were native-born descendants of Jacob. As adopted Gentiles, they shall be accorded all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of being full members of the commonwealth of Israel and fellow heirs of the covenants of promise made to her. They do not replace Israel but neither are they excluded. Like the mystery of the unity of God, the two groups are one in Messiah and yet distinct.
- Kinzer 2010: "Paul likely uses the term Kyrios here as a Greek substitute for both the tetragram- maton and the Hebrew word Adonai ("My lord"), which in Jewish practice acts as its surrogate. In this way he builds upon the most fundamental biblical confession of faith, the Shema, highlighting the two primary divine names (Theos/Elohim and Kyrios/Adonai) and the word 'one'. Paul thus expands the Shema to include Yeshua within a differentiated but singular deity. The nicene Creed adopts Paul's language ('one God, the Father…one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah…'), and thereby affirms its own continuity with the Shema. Paul's short confession is a Yeshua-faith interpretation of the Shema, and the nicene Creed is an expanded interpretation of Paul's confession."
- Kerstetter, Adam Yisroel (2007). "Who Do You Say That I Am? An introduction to the true Messiah from a non-Trinitarian view". Archived from the original on March 30, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
The material presented below has been researched to great lengths and is based totally on the Scriptures. I have examined both sides of the subject and can assure you that I have no ax to grind, but have found that the information on the Trinity is without any foundation, nor is it supported by the language of the Scripture. Let me state that I believe in our Heavenly Father and in his Son Y'shua (Jesus) and that the Father sent Y'shua to be a way back to Him and a means for our salvation, but I do not believe the Scripture supports the idea of the Moshiach (Messiah) being G-d of very G-d. When wrong ideas of the Mashiach are espoused they put us on the course of misinterpretations and a misconception of who our Mashiach and his Heavenly Father are. These misconceptions and misinterpretations lead us further away from the truth and ultimately further away from the Father who is the only true G-d.
- Berkley 1997, p. 129: "A more rapidly growing organization [than Jews for Jesus] is the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America which seeks to incorporate many of the trappings of Judaism with the tenets of Christianity. Its congregants assemble on Friday evening and Saturday morning, recite Hebrew prayers, and sometimes even wear talliot (prayer shawls). But they worship not just God but Jesus, whom they call Yeshua."
- "Our Mission and Message". First Fruits of Zion. 2010. p. 14. Archived from the original on September 23, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- "Is Yeshua G-d?". JerusalemCouncil.org. 2009. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
This then is who Yeshua is: He is not just a man, and as a man, he is not from Adam, but from G-d. He is the Word of HaShem, the Memra, the Davar, the Righteous One, he didn’t become righteous, he is righteous. He is called G-d’s Son, he is the agent of HaShem called HaShem, and he is "HaShem" who we interact with and not die.
- "Doctrinal Statement". Lev HaShem Messianic Jewish Synagogue. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "Messianic Beliefs". Beit Simcha. 2009. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
To study the whole and authoritative Word of God, including the Tenach (Hebrew Bible) and the B'rit Chadasha (New Testament) under the leading of the Holy Spirit
- "Defining the Old and New Covenant". The Jerusalem Council. February 2009. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
The Torah is the full description of the Messiah, Yeshua ben Yosef mi'Netzaret. Thus by implication, and often by reference, the Torah of G-d (which he gave to Moses) is the Messiah, who is the Word of HaShem. Since the Torah is the Messiah in this sense that he is the Word of HaShem, then it is rightly said that he is also the Covenant G-d makes with all men.…When G-d makes his Covenant with us as sinners, which was made on that day with all who were "there" and "not there" in Deuteronomy 29:14–15, our inclination to sin caused us to break it the moment we sinned (and all have sinned in Adam). So then when G-d renews his Covenant with us (as a new regenerated man alive to the Messiah, the Torah) it is therefore to us, renewed, and to the new man (that is, we who are the righteous in Messiah) it is "new". Thus that is why it is called a "new" or "renewed" Covenant.…Brit Chadashah = Covenant Renewed.
- Brown, Michael (2009-10-20). "Jewish Roots". Chosen People Ministries. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
... I will present some foundational truths from the Scriptures, and as you continue to research the matter for yourself, these truths will lead to one inescapable conclusion: It is the Tanakh rather than the Talmud and the rabbinic traditions that must be followed if we are to be totally faithful to the Lord.... Which, then, will you follow? The written Word or the traditions of men? When you stand before God, what will you say?
- "So, What Exactly is a Messianic Congregation?". RabbiYeshua.com. Kehilat Sar Shalom. 2001. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
When we begin to study and observe Torah to become like Messiah, there are pitfalls we must avoid. One such pitfall is the study of Mishnah and Talmud (Rabbinic traditional Law). There are many people and congregations that place a great emphasis on rabbinic legal works, such as the Mishnah and the Talmud in search of their Hebrew roots. People are looking to the rabbis for answers on how to keep God's commands, but if one looks into the Mishnah and does what it says, he or she is not a follower of the Messiah. Or, if one looks into the Talmud and does what it says, he or she is not a follower of the Messiah – he or she is a follower of the rabbis because Rabbi Yeshua, the Messiah, is not quoted there.... Rabbinic Judaism is not Messianic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism is not founded in Messiah. Rabbinic Judaism, for the most part, is founded in the yeast – the teachings of the Pharisees. Yeshua's teachings and the discipleship that He brought His students through was not Rabbinic Judaism. There is a real danger in Rabbinics. There is a real danger in Mishnah and Talmud. No one involved in Rabbinics has ever come out on the other side more righteous than when he or she entered. He or she may look "holier than thou" – but they do not have the life changing experience clearly represented in the lives of the believers of the Messianic communities of the first century.
- Bernay, Adam J. (December 3, 2007). "Who we are". beit-tefillah.com]. Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
"Orthodox Messianic" groups (they go by many names) teach that you must keep the commandments in order to be saved, and not just the commandments in the Scripture, but the traditional rules as coined by Judaism since the Temple was destroyed... essentially, they teach that we must keep Orthodox Judaism, but with the addition of Yeshua. We do NOT teach this in any way, shape, or form. Some of the traditions are right and good, and in keeping with the commandments. Others are not. Only by studying to show ourselves approved of God can we rightly divide the word of truth and discover how God calls us to live.
- Burgess 2006, p. 308.
- "Points of Order (#4)". 2015. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
The Torah in our usage never refers to the Talmud but, while we do not consider the Talmud or any other commentary on the Scriptures as the Word of G-d, we believe that the writings of Oral Tradition, such as the Talmud, the Mishnah, and the Midrash Rabbah, also contain further insight into the character of G-d and His dealings with His people.
- "Authoritative Sources in Halakhic Decision Making". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. ourrabbis.org. 2007. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
In Jewish tradition as a whole, Scripture is of paramount importance and authority in the development of Halakhah. In principle, issues become "Halakhic" because they are connected to some area of life in which Scripture reveals certain authoritative norms. In addressing those issues, Scripture is not the only resource consulted. However, it is always the source of greatest sanctity. Thus, when Rabbinic literature distinguishes between laws that are d'oraita (biblically mandated) and those that are d'rabbanan (rabbinically mandated), precedence is always given to those that are d'oraita.
- "In Search of Messianic Jewish Thought". GoogleCache. GoogleCache. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
John Fischer affirms that Yeshua himself supported the traditions of the Pharisees which were very close to what later became rabbinic halacha. Messianic Jews today should not only take note of rabbinic tradition but incorporate it into Messianic Jewish halachah. The biblical pattern for Fischer is that "Yeshua, the Apostles, and the early Messianic Jews all deeply respected the traditions and devoutly observed them, and in so doing, set a useful pattern for us to follow." Citing Fischer, John, "Would Yeshua Support Halacha?" in Kesher: A Journal of Messianic Judaism, Albuquerque, New Mexico: UMJC, 1997, pp. 51–81.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Goble 1974, pp. 4–6.
- "Who Is A Jew? Messianic Style". Chaia Kravitz. MessianicJewishOnline.com. 2007. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
In Messianic Judaism, children are generally regarded as being Jewish with one Jewish parent. Since we are one in Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, there is not sharp division between the two groups. Therefore, if a Gentile has a heart for Israel and God's Torah, as well as being a Believer in Yeshua, and this person marries a Jewish Believer, it is not considered an "intermarriage" in the same way Rabbinic Judaism sees it, since both partners are on the same spiritual plane. Children born from this union are part of God's Chosen, just like the Gentile parent who has been grafted into the vine of Israel through His grace.
- "Issues of Status". ourrabbis.org. Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- One Law Movements; a Challenge to the Messianic Jewish Community Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine January 28, 2005
- "One Law Movements A Response to Russ Resnik & Daniel Juster" (PDF).
- "Statement of Faith Of Coalition of Torah Observant Congregations". CTOMC. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- MJAA position paper:The Ephraimite Error Archived July 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Supersessionism". nabion.org. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- Koziar, Pete. "Winds of Doctrine: Replacement Theology". messianicassociation.org. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "THE BOOK OF ACTS, Chapter 21". Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- Acts 21:17-36 Paul Visits James at Jerusalem, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the law. They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs.
- Worshill, Ric (2008). "Why Messianic Jews Use Liturgy During Their Worship Services". Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- Feher 1998, p. 20: "The Messianic movement has eliminated the elements of Christian worship that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots. Communion is therefore associated with Passover, since the Eucharist originated during Ushua's Last Supper, held at Passover. In this way, Passover is given a new, Yshua-centered meaning."
- "Holidays". Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- Reinckens, Rick (2002). "Frequently Asked Questions". MessianicJews.info. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "Kashrut". Archived from the original on January 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- Harris-Shapiro 1999, p. 15: "However, not all Messianic believers are Jews. Nothing is as problematic as the large numbers of Messianic Gentiles in the movement. To claim Jewish identity when one is not Jewish oneself adds another layer of struggle: "We are Jews!" "We are Messianic Jews!" "We are Messianic Gentiles/spiritual Jews!"
- Brown Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus p. 12 2000
- Reason 2005: "The official stance is that Gentiles and Jews are spiritually equal but distinct, and that Jews should be proud of being Jews, and Gentiles proud of being Gentiles. Nevertheless, the Jewish identity is clearly valorized, causing many Gentiles to strive for greater Jewishness through Jewish observance and search for Jewish roots. Since conversion for Gentiles is deemed unbiblical within the MJAA, these are the main options for Gentiles seeking a more Jewish identity."
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 161: "For Gentile Christians, baptism is perceived as a means of entering into the body of Christ. Within Messianic Judaism, however, immersion is understood as a religious act symbolizing the believer's commitment to Yeshua: the faithful are to immerse in a mikveh as a sign of their acceptance of Messiah Yeshuah and the coming of the Kingdom."
- "Jewish Conversion Process". JerusalemCouncil.org. February 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
The process of Jewish Conversion is: 1. Repent by keeping the Covenant (Return to the Torah, get circumcised if male, and commit to the Torah).... 2. Believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and that he is coming as the King (Obey everything He commands, which is the Torah).... 3. Be immersed in the name of Yeshua, witnessed by others (Go through a mikveh in his name).
- Ariel 2006, p. 200.
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- Peter J. Tomson, Doris Lambers-Petry The image of the Judaeo-Christians in ancient Jewish and Christian ... 2003 p. 292 "From outside the movement hostile criticism of Messianic Judaism was voiced by such bodies as the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews. At their annual conference from 16 to 19 October 1975 a resolution was passed condemning "
- Kessler 2005, p. 97: "Messianic Jews in Israel who accept Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as the Messiah are supported, when they meet with hostility, by CMJ/ITAC. In the 1980s CMJ gave some support to evangelistic campaigns by Jews for Jesus…"
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 183.
- Schochet, Jacob Immanuel (July 29, 1999). "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots". Canadian Jewish News.
For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism.
- Berger 2003: "Some asserted that the association (shittuf) of Jesus with this God is permissible for non-Jews. Virtually none regarded such association as anything other than avodah zarah if the worshipper was a Jew."
- Grudem 1994, pp. 568–570.
- Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 182.
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- Nuesner, Jacob (February 2000) . "Come, Let us Reason Together". A Rabbi Talks With Jesus. Donald H. Akerson (forward) (Revised ed.). Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0-7735-2046-2. LCCN 2001339789.
- Schiffman, Lawrence H. (1993). "Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community" (PDF). Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not. It is nothing more than a disguised effort to missionize Jews and convert them to Christianity. It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance ... as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism.... Hebrew Christianity is not a form of Judaism and its members, even if they are of Jewish birth, cannot be considered members of the Jewish community. Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbreachable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former coreligionists.
- Balmer 2004, pp. 448–449: "Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism. Jewish groups are particularly distressed at the aggressive evangelistic attempts on the part of Messianic Jews."
- Harris-Shapiro 1999, p. 177.
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One of the more alarming trends in antisemitic activity in Canada in 1998 was the growing number of incidents involving messianic organizations posing as "synagogues". These missionizing organizations are in fact evangelical Christian proselytizing groups, whose purpose is specifically to target members of the Jewish community for conversion. They fraudulently represent themselves as Jews, and these so-called synagogues are elaborately disguised Christian churches.
- Yonke, David (February 11, 2006). "Rabbi says Messianic Jews are Christians in disguise". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- Nathan-Kazis, Josh (October 31, 2018). "A GOP Rising Star Asks Jews For Jesus 'Rabbi' To Pray For Pittsburgh. What Could Go Wrong?". The Forward. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
I could see nothing more offensive or more poorly calculated than to make this decision,” said David Kurzmann, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, a local Jewish advocacy group in Detroit. “The reaction and the rage in the community right now is very significant.
- Siemaszko, Corky (October 30, 2018). "Jews assail 'Christian rabbi' who appeared with Pence, and so does his own movement". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
The "Messianic rabbi" who outraged many Jews by invoking the name of Jesus while delivering a prayer in memory of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre victims was also spurned Tuesday by the organization that ordained him. Loren Jacobs, who was invited onstage by Vice President Mike Pence to speak at a rally in Michigan for a GOP congressional candidate, was defrocked 15 years ago, according to a spokeswoman for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. 'Loren Jacobs was stripped of his rabbinic ordination by the UMJC in 2003, after our judicial board found him guilty of libel,' Monique Brumbach said in an email. Brumbach did not say who Jacobs allegedly libeled, but it appears from his synagogue website he was involved in a theological battle with other leaders of the group, which believes that Jesus is the son of God — a belief that is anathema to the vast majority of the world's Jews. Jacobs seemed to be concerned that the group was insufficiently conservative on doctrinal matters. Meanwhile, mainstream Jewish leaders and experts on the faith said they could not fathom why GOP congressional candidate Lena Epstein, herself a longtime member of a Detroit–area synagogue, invited Jacobs at all to her rally Tuesday because in their eyes he’s not even a real Jew, let alone a rabbi. 'We don’t even recognize him as a rabbi,' Rabbi Marla Hornsten, past president of the Michigan Board of Rabbis, told NBC News. 'Even to call him a rabbi is offensive.'
- Stanley-Becker, Isaac (October 30, 2018). "Honoring Pittsburgh synagogue victims, Pence appears with 'rabbi' who preaches 'Jesus is the Messiah'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
But the man who shared a stage with Pence, Loren Jacobs, preaches Messianic Judaism, a tradition central to Jews for Jesus, a group condemned by Jewish leaders as faux Judaism that seeks to promote Christian evangelism. The major Jewish denominations join the state of Israel in viewing followers of Messianic Judaism as Christian, not Jewish.
- Myers, Calev (April 16, 2008). "Justice in Israel". Jerusalem Institute of Justice, and organization supporting the rights of "Israeli Evangelical believers, Messianic Jews and families of mixed (Jewish-Christian) marriages". Retrieved 2008-04-24.
In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court of Israel ratified a settlement between twelve Messianic Jewish believers and the State of Israel, which states that being a Messianic Jew does not prevent one from receiving citizenship in Israel under the Law of Return or the Law of Citizenship, if one is a descendent of Jews on one's father's side (and thus not Jewish according to halacha). This Supreme Court decision brought an end to a legal battle that has carried on for two and a half years. The applicants were represented by Yuval Grayevsky and Calev Myers from the offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., and their legal costs were subsidized by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. There is a growing trend, today, to use the term Messianic Believers, which solves the objections of Jews and makes the movement more 'accessible' to Gentiles as well, who make up a significant proportion of those who attend Messianic fellowships. This is important because some fellowships under the heading Messianic Judaism, do not actually have any Jews as members and the title does not, therefore, reflect the reality on the ground.
- "Israeli Court Rules Jews for Jesus Cannot Automatically Be Citizens". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 27, 1989. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
Messianic Jews are not entitled to automatic Israeli citizenship, Israel's Supreme Court has ruled, concluding that their belief that Jesus was the Messiah makes them Christians instead of Jews. The ruling, published in Israeli newspapers today, supported Orthodox religious interpretations of the state's 1950 Law of Return. The law forms the basis of Jewish immigration to Israel. The law and its subsequent amendments define a Jew as a person born to a Jewish mother or who converts to Judaism and professes no other faith. Orthodox politicians have long sought a more precise definition, and the court's Christmas Day ruling has resolved one issue. The 100-page decision said that belief in Jesus made one a member of another faith and ineligible for automatic Israeli citizenship, The Jerusalem Post, Hadashot and Yediot Ahronot reported.... "Messianic Jews attempt to reverse the wheels of history by 2,000 years," Justice Elon wrote in a passage quoted by the Israeli newspapers. "But the Jewish people has decided during the 2,000 years of its history" that Messianic Jews "do not belong to the Jewish nation and have no right to force themselves on it. Those who believe in Jesus are, in fact, Christians."
- Izenberg, Dan (April 22, 2008). "Court applies Law of Return to Messianic Jews because of fathers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-04-24.[permanent dead link]
- "Messianic Jews Claim Victory in Israeli Court". CBNnews.com. April 18, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
The Supreme Court of Israel ruled Wednesday that being a Messianic Jew cannot prevent Israeli citizenship if the Jewish descent is from the person's father's side.
- "2008 Report on International Religious Freedom – Israel and the occupied territories". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US government. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
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OThis is a vision to establish the institutions of yeshivot and batei din to meet the greatest needs of the believing orthodox Jewish community of disciples of Messiah Yeshua worldwide. This vision includes the creation of an Orthodox Jewish Rabbinical Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish Beit Din, a global Messianic Knesset, and an online communication and collaboration hub, by providing for rabbinic ordination (smicha), Jewish education, Jewish conversion (giyur), peer review, accountability, and the communication channels needed to support the body of disciples of Messiah Yeshua and all Messianic Jews worldwide.
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The MJRC is a growing community of ordained Messianic Jewish rabbis committed to the exciting concept of a Messianic Judaism which is both faithful to the teachings, example and person of Messiah Yeshua and to deep connection with the larger Jewish community. This connection demands our giving serious attention to Torah as practiced through the march of Jewish history. MJRC Rabbis endeavor to develop standards of Messianic Jewish practice so that our congregations worldwide can grow together as life-giving communities, filled with the Ruach and the joy of Jewish life renewed in Yeshua.
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