Messianic Judaism: Wikis


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The Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue in Dallas, Texas

Messianic Judaism is a religious movement that differs from mainstream Christianity and from Judaism by combining elements of each into a single faith.

Like other Christian groups, its adherents believe that Jesus of Nazareth (to whom many Messianic Jews prefer to refer by the Aramaic form of his name, Yeshua) is the resurrected Messiah and often the Divine Savior.[1][2][3] Messianic Judaism adds to this some observance of Jewish Law, which is not generally practiced (and often discouraged) in Christian churches.[4] These observances include observing the Sabbath from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown, abstaining from pork, shellfish, and other foods forbidden by Jewish law, and the observance of some Jewish holidays. As of 2003, there were at least 150 Messianic congregations in the U.S. and over 400 worldwide.[5] By 2008, the number of Messianics in the United States was around a quarter million.[6] The number of Messianic Jews in Israel is reported to be anywhere between 6,000 and 15,000 members, including the mainly Messianic Jewish village of Yad HaShmona, near Jerusalem.[7][8] There are 200 Messianic groups in Israel.[9] Some Messianic Jews are ethnically Jewish, and argue that Messianic Judaism is a sect of Judaism.[10] Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism are, however, unanimous in their rejection of Messianism as a form of Judaism.[11][12] Both Christians and Jews consider Messianic Judaism to be a form of Christianity,[13] seeing Messianic belief in the divinity of Jesus as the defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism.[11][13][14] The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that the Law of Return should treat ethnically Jewish individuals who convert to Messianic Judaism in the same way as it treats Jews who convert to Christianity.[15]



Adherents to Messianic Judaism are described as Messianic Jews, Messianic Believers, or Messianics for short.[16]

Although terms used to identify adherents of Messianic Judaism are frequently disputed, the terms used generally describe someone who holds to the belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and who lives in obedience to the Scriptures, including the Torah, and Halakha, and who believes such a lifestyle of obedience is the proper expression of faith. Messianic Judaism is a relatively new term, coined as recently as 1895 to help separate the practices of its followers from those of common Christianity as a whole, and in order to more closely align its faith with that of biblical and historical Judaism.[17]

The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations defines Messianic Judaism as "a movement of Jewish congregations and groups committed to Yeshua the Messiah that embrace the covenantal responsibility of Jewish life and identity rooted in Torah, expressed in tradition, and renewed and applied in the context of the New Covenant."

"Jewish life is life in a concrete, historical community. Thus, Messianic Jewish groups must be fully part of the Jewish people, sharing its history and its covenantal responsibility as a people chosen by God. At the same time, faith in Yeshua also has a crucial communal dimension. This faith unites the Messianic Jewish community and the Christian Church..."[18]

Messianics believe that the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth were called Nazarenes (in Hebrew, Notzrim; "נוצרים") or simply "Followers of the Way."

Messianic Jews practice their faith in a way they consider to be authentically Torah-observant and culturally Jewish.


The Messianic Judaism movement of today grew out of the Hebrew-Christian movement of the 19th century. Hebrew-Christian congregations began to emerge in England; the first of these was Beni Abraham, in London, which was founded by forty-one Hebrew-Christians.[19] This led to a more general awareness of their Jewish identity for Christians with a Jewish background.[20] In 1866, the Hebrew-Christian Alliance of Great Britain was organized, with branches also existing in several European countries and the United States. A similar group, The Hebrew Christian Alliance of America (HCAA), was organized in the U.S. in 1915. The International Hebrew-Christian Alliance (IHCA) was organized in 1925 (later becoming the International Messianic Jewish Alliance). Additional groups were formed during subsequent decades.[21]

Modern Messianic Judaism emerged in the 1960s.[22] A major shift in the movement occurred when Martin Chernoff became the President of the HCAA (1971–1975). In June 1973, a motion was made to change the name of the HCAA to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) and the name was officially changed in June 1975. The name change was significant as more than just a "semantical expression;" as Rausch states, "It represented an evolution in the thought processes and religious and philosophical outlook toward a more fervent expression of Jewish identity." [23]

When the movement began to become larger, new organizations such as the Messianic Israel Alliance and the Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations arose. These organizations disagreed with UMJC's stance over the issue of Gentile observance of the Torah, and whether it is obligatory, or not.


Messianic Jewish theology is the study of God and Scripture from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Many Messianics affirm the Trinity - creator God, Yeshua the son who entered human form in accordance with Scripture, and the Holy Spirit - being three representations of the same divinity;[24] others leave it deliberately obscure.[25]



Messianic believers commonly hold the Old Testament to be divinely inspired. Theologian David H. Stern in his "Jewish New Testament Commentary" argues that Paul is fully congruent with Messianic Judaism, and that the New Testament is to be taken by Messianic Jews as the inspired Word of God. This is the mainstream view within the movement although, as with many religions, there are several schools of thought. A very few Messianic believers are troubled by the writings of Paul and may reject his writings, holding them in less esteem than those of the Gospel writers.

Often, the emphasis is on the idea that the Old Testament is the only scripture the early believers universally had,[26] and that, except for the recorded words of Jesus, the New Testament was meant to be an inspired commentary on the Old Testament. This agrees with non-Jewish views of scripture, and the complete canon of accepted books is the same as that of the Protestants.


  1. Torah [תורה] meaning one or all of: "The Law"; "Teaching"; "Instruction". Also called the Chumash [חומש] meaning: "The five"; "The five books of Moses". It is the "Pentateuch".
  2. Nevi'im [נביאים] meaning: "Prophets"
  3. Ketuvim [כתובים] meaning "Writings" or "Hagiographa".
  4. Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  5. Acts
  6. Pauline Epistles
  7. General Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude
  8. Revelation

Stern has produced a Messianic Jewish version of the Bible called the Complete Jewish Bible, a translation using more Hebrew idioms and loanwords (such as shalom instead of peace), and using Hebrew transliterations of names (for example, Miryam and Yosef for Mary and Joseph).


"Torah" refers to the first five books of the Bible, also called the Pentateuch, Books of Moses, or Books of Law. The word translated most commonly as laws is probably more rightly translated as teachings. The Torah contains the 613 laws of the Covenant between God and Israel. For Jews, whether they are Messianic or not, observance is covenantal. For Messianic believers, the Torah is held as the foundation for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2Timothy 3:16-17.

Scriptural commentary

Some Messianic communities 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 messianic scriptures.[27][28][29][30][31]

Other Messianic believers call rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud "dangerous".[32] These people believe that followers of rabbinic and halakhic explanations and commentaries are not believers in Jesus as the Messiah.[32][33] Furthermore, Messianic believers deny the authority of the Pharisees, believing that they were superseded, and contradicted, by Messianism.[32]

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, but it overlooks many of the issues of composition, history, date and setting, and only provides select explanatory notes from a Messianic Jewish point of view. Other noted New Testament commentary authors include: Joseph Shulam, who has written commentaries on Acts, Romans, and Galatians; Tim Hegg of TorahResource, who has written commentaries on Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and is presently examining Matthew; Daniel Thomas Lancaster, who has written extensively for the First Fruits of Zion Torah Club series; Stuart Sacks, author of Hebrews Through a Hebrews' Eyes; and J.K. McKee of TNN Online who has written several volumes under the byline "for the Practical Messianic" (James, Hebrews, Philippians, Galatians, and both a Tanach and Apostolic Scriptures Survey).

Core doctrines

This section lists some of the main beliefs and doctrines present in Messianic Judaism

  1. God - Messianic Jews believe in God (Adonai of the Bible), and that he is all-powerful, omni-present, eternal, exists outside of creation, and is infinitely significant and benevolent. Messianic Jews believe in the Shema ("Shema Means 'hear' and is the quintessential Jewish text from Dvarim/Deuteronomy 6:4.: 'Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD' showing the uniqueness of the God of Israel. Israel didn't require many gods (like harvest gods, fertility gods, fire gods) The God of Israel is unique and infinite -- He alone is sovereign. The Shema is a confirmation in Torah that Adonai/God is a compound unity ('echad') not as is commonly misunderstood.")[34] Many Messianic Jews are open to trinitarian views of God;[24] some demand strict monotheism.[35]
  2. Yeshua the Messiah - Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth, is believed to be the Jewish Messiah in Messianic Judaism. The mainstream movement accepts Yeshua (Jesus) as "the Torah (Word) made flesh" (John, 1:14), and believe he is HaShem.[24][36] Some small offshoots exist outside the fringe of the movement which deny Jesus's divinity entirely.[37] These however, are rejected by mainstream Messianic Jews in the same way that some Christian groups reject groups with differing Christologies, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses.[38]
  3. Written Torah - Messianics, with few exceptions, consider the written Torah (Pentateuch), the five books of Moses, to remain fully in force and they therefore believe that it is a holy covenant, which is to be observed both morally and ritually, by those who profess faith in God.[39] They believe that Jesus taught and re-affirmed the Torah, rather than did away with it.[40]
  4. Israel - It is believed that the Children of Israel were, remain, and will continue to be the chosen people of the God of Jacob, and are central to his plans for existence. Virtually all Messianics (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.[41]
  5. The Bible - The Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings (sometimes called the "B’rit Chadasha") are usually considered to be the established and divinely inspired Biblical scriptures by Messianic Jews.
  6. Biblical eschatology - Most Messianics hold all of the following eschatological beliefs: 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 that Jesus was resurrected after his death), and the Millennial Sabbath.
  7. Oral Law - Messianic Jewish opinions concerning the “Oral Torah”, encoded in the Talmud, are varied and sometimes conflicting between individual congregations. Some congregations believe that adherence to the Oral Law, as encompassed by the Talmud, is against Messianic beliefs and outright dangerous.[32] Other congregations are selective in their applications of Talmudic law.[42][43] Still others encourage a serious observance of the Jewish Halakha.[44] Virtually all Messianic congregations and synagogues can be said to believe that the oral traditions are subservient to the written Torah. It is important to note that Jesus followed some oral traditions (such as the observance of Hanukkah), but opposed others.

Additional doctrines

  1. Sin and atonement - Messianics define sin as transgression of the Torah (Law/Instruction) of God (1 John 3: 4-5). Some adherents continue practices intended to atone for their sins - usually involving prayer and rituals relating to repentance—that is, acknowledgment of wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness for their sins (esp. on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). Other Messianics disagree with these practices, believing that all sin (whether committed yet or not) is already atoned for because of Jesus's death and resurrection.
  2. Faith and works - Messianics draw on Jewish rather than Protestant tradition. In Hebrew there is one word for both faith and faithfulness: Emunah. Most adherents to Messianic Judaism believe in a showing of their faith through righteous works (Jacob 2: 17-26; James 2: 1-26), defined by the Torah. Few Messianics believe that faith and works are mutually exclusive or polarized; most believe that faith in God and righteous works are entirely complementary to each other, and that the one (faith) naturally leads to the other (works) - much like some Christian thinking. Some say that righteousness with God is solely by grace through faith and then acknowledge that works are still very important.

People of God

According to the Jerusalem Council, "the people of Israel are members of the covenant HaShem made with Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya'akov. Covenant membership is extended to converts to Judaism from the nations, as well as to the descendants of covenant members. Israel is a nation of nations and their descendants, or more specifically a people group called out from other people groups to be a people separated unto HaShem for his purposes. HaShem's promise of covenantal blessings and curses as described in the Torah are unique to Am Yisrael (People of Israel), and to no other nation or people group. The bible describes an Israelite as one descended from Ya'akov ben Yitzhak ben Avraham, or one who has been converted or adopted into that group by either human or spiritual means." [45]

Jews are those who are born of a Jewish mother or have undergone halakhic conversion to Judaism. An exception is also made for those born of Jewish fathers only if the individual claims Jewish identity, similar to the Reform position. The statement of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council on Jewish identity[46] is often disputed among Messianic believers who either don't find it necessary or discourage halakhic conversion by believing the Romans 2:29 teaching (that a "Jew" is not one who is one "outwardly" but is one who is a Jew in his heart). They also believe that by accepting Jesus into their hearts and confessing that he is Lord, salvation is received.[47]

Messianic believers from the nations are also considered a part of the People of God. Depending on their status within various Messianic Jewish groups, such as the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, an allowance for formal conversion is made based on their understanding that Messianic converts are not automatically considered Jewish. The reasoning for this variance is as follows: While Titus may have been the norm in the epistles, a Gentile not converted to Judaism, Paul nevertheless made an exception for Timothy, whom he circumcised and brought under the Covenant, probably because though Timothy's father was Greek, his mother was Jewish. According to the statement of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council regarding Conversion,[48] converts to Judaism do not in any way have a higher status within Messianic Judaism than the Messianic believers who are considered by the UMJC to still be "Gentiles" who are attached to their communities.

One Law theology

One Law theology 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 One Law theology's insistence on Gentiles being required to observe the entirety of Torah in the same way Jews are.[49] Tim Hegg from FFOZ 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.[50]

Two House Theology

Two House Theology comes from the idea that the "House of Judah" in scripture refers to Jews, and 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, right before Yeshua returns, that many of those descended from Israel will come back to Israel. This theology postulates that the reason why so many so-called gentiles are coming into Messianic Judaism is that the vast majority of them are really Israelites and just don't know it yet. They believe a majority of the people who considered themselves as gentiles coming into Messianic Judaism are those of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Like One Law groups, the Two House movement appears at first glance to have much in common with Messianic Judaism because of 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 ten lost tribes. Organizations such as the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations have opposed the Two House teaching[51] and it continues to be a sensitive issue among Messianic congregations.


Issues of Creation and Eschatology are not central to Messianic Judaism with the following exception: the idea that one age is ending, as the fullness of the Gentiles has been reached, and the next age beginning, where we shall see the fullness of Israel. The wording is a reference to Romans 11:

Again I ask: Did [the Jews] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! ... For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? ... I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved.[52]

The "fullness of the Gentiles" might be said to refer to the Great Commission, which is complete. The rebirth of the nation of Israel, the re-establishment of Jerusalem as its capital, the return of Jews from Russia, "the nation to the north," and the return of Jews worldwide to greater observance are all seen as signs of the beginning of the age of Israel. Messianics believe that when the fullness of Israel is reached, the Messiah will return and the world will see the resurrection of the dead.[53]

The majority of Messianics believe, as does traditional Judaism, in a literal 7,000 year period for the human history of the world, from Adam to the Judgment, and many Messianics believe that we are the final generation that will experience the Biblical apocalypse.

Most Messianics believe that the Messianic Kingdom, or Millennial Sabbath, will literally be for a period of a thousand years, after the collective resurrection of the dead, with Jesus the Messiah ruling from Jerusalem. Many believe that we are living in the final days, or “End Times”, before the physical return of Jesus to Jerusalem.

Messianics also contend that no serious study of the End Times should ever leave out the significance of God's appointed times—the major Jewish Festivals in the Torah—and their fulfillment as prophetic events as it relates to the person of Jesus and to Israel. Many Messianics believe that just as the Spring Festivals (Passover, First Fruits, Shavuot) were literally fulfilled to the day at Jesus's first coming, the Fall Festivals (Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot) will be literally fulfilled to the day at Jesus's second coming, and that all of the moedim, indeed the entire Torah, intrinsically hints at the Messiah.

Overview of issues

Traditional Christianity affirms that the Torah is the word of God, though some Christians deny that all of the laws of the Pentateuch apply directly to them as Christians. The New Testament suggests that Jesus established a new covenant relationship between God and his people (Heb 8; Jer 31:31–34) and this new covenant speaks of the Torah being written upon the heart. Various passages such as Matthew 5:17-19, Matthew 28:19-20, 1 John 3:4 and Romans 3:3, as well as various examples of Torah observance in the New Testament, are cited by Messianics in suggesting that the Torah was not and could not have been abolished.[citation needed]

Many Messianics believe that it is absurd to assume that any of the 613 Mitzvot would be abolished simply because certain commandments are or are not repeated or reaffirmed individually in the New Testament, proclaiming the belief that such was never the job of the Apostles in the first place, and that the Torah has always been immutable. Messianics sometimes challenge Christians by arguing that if they believe Jesus is the Messiah, then according to the Torah itself Jesus could not have changed the Torah.[citation needed]

As with Orthodox Judaism, capital punishment and animal sacrifice are not practiced because there are strict Biblical conditions on how these are to be practiced, requiring a functioning Temple in Jerusalem with its Levite priesthood.

Most Messianics believe that observance of the Torah brings about sanctification, not salvation, which was to be produced only by the Messiah.[54]

Like so many other elements of Messianic Judaism, the issue of Torah observance varies widely across the movement. The following subsections attempt to explain the differing opinions regarding Torah observance within Messianic Judaism as a whole.

Law and grace

Some believe that the Torah is separated into moral, ceremonial, and civil commandments, and that only the moral laws are necessary to be observed by believers today. Others consider such a partitioning of the Torah to be a man-made and deliberate attempt to avoid serious observance of the whole Torah.

Others among the Messianics hold that both Jesus and Paul taught and commanded Jews to remain obedient to all the laws found in the Torah. (See New Perspective on Paul)

Most Messianics believe Jesus himself said that he came not to destroy the Law or Prophets but that he came to fulfill [to fill up to the full]. Matthew 5:17-19 17 " Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Jewish Paul

Messianics understand (as supported by modern scholarship[55]) that Paul the Apostle (who is often referred to as Sha’ul, his Hebrew name) remained a Jewish Pharisee even as a believer until his death (see Paul of Tarsus and Judaism). This is based on Acts 23:6, detailing events after Paul's acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question."

Messianics cite the cutting off of Paul’s hair at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken (Acts 18:18), references in passing to him observing the Jewish holidays, the frequent mistranslations of his writings in many Bibles, and his consistent good standing with his Rabbinic master Gamaliel, to show that he was wholly in continued observance of the laws and traditions of Judaism

They maintain that Paul never set out to polarize the gospel between faith and righteous works, but that one is necessary to maintain the other. The New Perspective on Paul is important in Messianic Judaism.

Messianic Jewish Conversion

Messianic perspectives on "Who is a Jew" vary. The Jerusalem Council, a global Messianic body, defines a Jew as one who is born of a Jewish mother or father, or who is a convert to Judaism.[56] It should be noted that the Jerusalem Council recognizes as a convert to Judaism, in addition to Orthodox halakha, anyone who is a follower of Jesus who has gone through a mikvah of conversion to Messianic Judaism.[57] Circumcision is seen by the Jerusalem Council not as a means by which one is recognized as a Jew, but rather as a measure of continued obedience to the Torah after conversion.[58][59][60]

The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, a Messianic halakhic body submitted to the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, instead promotes developing a process of conversion by which "non-Jews" may be circumcised and then only afterwards be recognized as Jewish.[61]

None of the mainstream Jewish movements view a Messianic conversion as valid.



Jewish theology rejects the idea that the messiah (or any other person) is a divinity,[14] and such an idea has often been regarded as idolatrous. Nor does Judaism view the role of the messiah to be the salvation of the world from its sins (an idea widely accepted by Christians and messianic Jews). Judaism does not accept Jesus as the biblical messiah, nor does it assign him any religious role at all.


Historically, Christianity has featured supersessionism in which the Mosaic Covenant of the First Testament is superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus[citation needed], wherein the merciful grace of God and not obedience to the Torah is required for salvation. This is sometimes complemented with God moving the status of "God's people" from Israel, as the First Testament announces, to the Christian Church. Messianic Judaism, in varying degrees, challenges both thoughts. Israel, though it has rejected Jesus (by majority) has not forfeited its place as God's chosen people. They quote Romans 11:29 which says "for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." The core of supersessionism, in which the First Testament covenant is canceled, is less agreed upon. Though the mitzvoh may or may not be necessary, most are still followed, especially keeping Sabbath and other holy days. Some believe that Jews can still find favor with God through the Torah without accepting Jesus, as did Moses, David, and the Prophets.

Ethnic Jews who are Christians

Being Jewish can refer to a religious identity or an ethnic designation, or usually both. Christians who were born Jewish do not necessarily identify as Messianic Jews; Christians with a Jewish heritage may follow Christianity in exactly the same way that any other Christian does. More confusing, some Messianic believers are actually of non-Jewish ethnicity, but attend Shul and follow the teachings of Messianic Judaism.

Jews for Jesus

Some Messianic believers do not consider Jews for Jesus to be a Messianic Jewish organization.[62]


A series of articles on

The place of Jesus in Messianic Judaism is usually clearly defined. Contrary to Judaism, Messianic Judaism asserts that Jesus is the word of God become manifest (John 1:1;14), a belief that is identical with normative Christian doctrine regarding the nature and identity of the son of God. Furthermore, Messianic Judaism generally asserts that the Messiah has a dual aspect as revealed in Scripture [63]. Instead of merely a physical Messiah who would save Israel from occupation and restore the Davidic Kingdom, Jesus first rescued the world from spiritual bondage – paving the way for true understanding and application of the Torah. The Messiah will return again – only this time he will indeed rescue the world from physical oppression and establish his unending Kingdom - again, a belief that is identical to the normative Christian view of the Messiah. George Berkley writes that Messianics "worship not just God but Jesus" who they call Yeshua.[64]


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 (omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, outside creation, infinitely significant and benevolent - viewpoints on the Trinity vary), Jesus is believed to be the Jewish Messiah though views on his divinity vary), written Torah (with a few exceptions, Messianics believe 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 (Tanakh and the New Testament are usually considered the divinely inspired Scripture, though Messianics are more open to criticism of the New Testament canon than is Christianity), eschatology (similar to many evangelical Christian views), and oral law (observance varies, but virtually all deem these traditions subservient to the written Torah). Certain additional doctrines, including sin and atonement and faith and works, are more open to differences in interpretation.[65]

People of God

There exist among Messianics a number of perspectives regarding who exactly makes up God's chosen people. These are 'covenant membership, and halakhic definitions. Most commonly, Israel is seen as distinct from Ekklesia; Messianic Jews, being a part of both Israel and Ekklesia, are seen as the necessary link of the 'Gentile' People of God to 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.[66]


Many Messianics believe that all of the moedim, 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 the larger prophetic context. To these believers, Passover, First Fruits, and Shavuot were fulfilled in Jesus's first coming, and Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot will be at his second. Many Messianics believe in a literal 7000 year period for the human history of the world, with a Messianic Millennial Sabbath Kingdom before a final judgment.[67]


The issue of Torah observance is a contentious one within Messianic Judaism. Generally, "Torah observant" congregations observe Jewish Law, biblical feasts, and Sabbath, although they do not teach that Gentiles need observe Torah. While most traditional Christians deny that the ritual laws and specific civil laws of the Pentateuch (though still affirming that Torah is the word of God) apply directly to themselves, passages[68] regarding Torah observance in the New Testament are cited by Messianics that Torah was not abolished for Jews. They point out that in Acts 21 we find that the Jewish believers in Jerusalem are "zealous for Torah" and that Paul himself, never stopped being observant. Most Messianics believe that observance of the Torah brings about sanctification, not salvation, which was to be produced only by the Messiah[69].

Religious practices


Many Messianic organizations exist that address issues concerning Messianic religious practice.

The vision of the Jerusalem Council, a new organization, "includes the hope of re-appointing a beit din for Messianic believers worldwide, to be called the Jerusalem Council, or Beit HaDin HaYerushalmi, modeled after the original, and submitted to the new Jewish Sanhedrin in issues that do not contradict obedient faith to Messiah Yeshua or his teachings."[70] It is in the process of publishing a set of Messianic halakha that the "majority of orthodox Messianic Jews accept."[42]

Another organization, the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council (many of whose members are affiliated with the longstanding Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) has published its standards of Messianic Torah observance at its website,[71]

Holiday observances

Worship services are generally held on Friday evenings (Erev Shabbat) or Saturday mornings.[72][73] The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council recommends the observance of Jewish holidays.[74]

Dietary laws

The dietary laws of Judaism are a subject of continued debate among Messianic Jews.[72][75]


Messianic music

There are recording artists who consider their music to be Messianic in message including Joel Chernoff of Lamb,[76] Paul Wilbur, and Marty Goetz. Many of these artists have been influenced by Jewish music and often incorporate Hebrew phrases into their lyrics.[citation needed] Other Messianic artists, such as Ted Pearce[77] and Chuck King, are not Jewish in heritage but have begun to lead a new generation of scripture-based Messianic-style music.

Jewish objections

Jewish objections to Messianic Judaism are numerous and often begin with objections to the term "Messianic Judaism" itself: It is objected that Judaism is a messianic religion, but that its messiah is not Jesus,[14] thus the term is misleading.[78]

Use of "Judaism" in the term is also considered misleading and as a subversive tactic used for missionary purposes. Messianic Jews are only considered eligible for the State of Israel's Law of Return if they can also claim Jewish descent[15]. An assistant to one of the two lawyers involved with an April 2008 Supreme Court of Israel case explained to the Jerusalem Post that Messianics were "entitled to automatic new immigrant status and citizenship precisely because they were not Jews as defined by the Law of Return, but rather because they were the offspring of Jewish fathers" [79].

Several anti-missionary organizations, such as Outreach Judaism and Jews for Judaism oppose Messianic Judaism on theological grounds, usually from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. In recent years these organizations have noticeably shifted their focus from countering the missionizing of Jews in the name of Christianity to countering the spread of Messianic Judaism. The Jewish anti-missionary organizations view the latter (Messianic Judaism) as a more threatening and subversive form of apostacy than the former (openly missionizing in the name of Christianity).

Denominations and organizations

All denominations of Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations reject Messianic Judaism being a form of Judaism, often on the grounds that Messianic Judaism is a form of Christianity, and that Christianity isn't Judaism.[12][11][80]

According to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform):

"For us in the Jewish community, anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. Through that belief she has placed herself outside the Jewish community. Whether she cares to define herself as a Christian or as a 'fulfilled Jew,' 'Messianic Jew,' or any other designation is irrelevant; to us, she is clearly a Christian."[81]

Concerning Christian-Jewish reconciliation and Christian missions to the Jews, Emil Fackenheim wrote:

"…Except in relations with Christians, the Christ of Christianity is not a Jewish issue. There simply can be no dialogue worthy of the name unless Christians accept — nay, treasure — the fact that Jews through the two millennia of Christianity have had an agenda of their own. There can be no Jewish-Christian dialogue worthy of the name unless one Christian activity is abandoned, missions to the Jews. It must be abandoned, moreover, not as a temporary strategy but in principle, as a bimillennial theological mistake. The cost of that mistake in Christian love and Jewish blood one hesitates to contemplate. …A post-Holocaust Jew can still view Christian attempts to convert Jews as sincere and well intended. But even as such they are no longer acceptable: They have become attempts to do in one way what Hitler did in another."[82]

According to a 1998 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents issued by Canadian B'nai Brith,

"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."[83]

Suggestions of Jewish legitimacy

Jews believe that Messianic Judaism is not a form of Judaism, and that the very name of the movement itself is deceptive.[11][80] However, two non-Messianic Jewish scholars have suggested re-approaching the subject:

  • University of Wales, Lampeter, Theology and Religious Studies Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok[84], also an American Reform rabbi, has suggested in his book Messianic Judaism that there should be a consideration of the place of Messianic Judaism within the contemporary Jewish community and outlines three alternative models for understanding the relationship between Messianic Judaism and the modern Jewish world.[85]
  • Reconstructionist rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro has posited that Messianic Judaism is a form of Judaism, while simultaneously a form of Christianity. She also asserts why and how both Christianity and Judaism reject Messianic Judaism[86][1]

Israeli Citizenship

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 halacha, e.g. people who have a Jewish father but a non-Jewish mother. Specifically excluded were any “person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.” An Israeli Supreme Court decision in 1989 ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion.[87] The Israeli government therefore rejected as a matter of course applications from Messianic Jews under the Law of Return.

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 halacha, and were not therefore excluded by the conversion clause. This argument was upheld in the ruling.[79][88][89]

Persecution of Messianic Jews

The International Religious Freedom Report 2008, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the US states that discrimination against Messianic Jews in Israel is increasing.[90] 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.[91]

See also


  1. ^ a b Harris-Shapiro, Carol (1999). "Studying the Messianic Jews" (GoogleBooks). Messianic Judaism: a rabbi’s journey through religious change in America. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. g. 1. LCCN 98-54864. ISBN 0807010405. OCLC 45729039.,M1. Retrieved 2007-02-20. "Messianic Judaism is a largely American Jewish/Christian movement whose origins can be traced in the United States to Hebrew Christian missions to the Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Jesus people of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the resurgence of American Jewish ethnicity during the same decades. Messianic Jewish congregations are composed of both those born Jewish who accept Jesus as their savior and their Gentile supporters who adopt a "Jewish lifestyle"." 
  2. ^ "What is Messianic Judaism?". The Jerusalem Council. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-03. "Messianic Judaism is a sect of Judaism also known as HaDerech (The Way), whose adherents are disciples of Rabbi Yeshua ben Yosef shel Netzaret, and believe that he is the Moshiach (Messiah, Christ) of Israel. They believe that that Israel's King, Savior, and Redeemer is HaShem, and that this fully describes who the Messiah is, and thus to reject the Messiah is to also reject HaShem, reject the Torah, and be in rebellion to him. They live out their lives in total obedience to Rabbi Yeshua and his teachings, and imitate his Torah observance; and they do so out of love for HaShem and others." 
  3. ^ "So, What Exactly is a Messianic Congregation?". Kehilat Sar Shalom. 2001. Retrieved 2007-02-20. "Messianic Judaism of the first century busied itself with telling everyone of the Good News, it boldly proclaimed Yeshua – the resurrected Messiah – to all men and women.…Sin is lawlessness, it is “Torahlessness”. If one is truly in Messiah, then one will be Torah observant." 
  4. ^ "Why do Catholics believe that good works are necessary for salvation!". The Augustine Club - Columbia University. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-06. "Catholics believe that faith and good works are both necessary for salvation, because such is the teaching of Jesus Christ. What Our Lord demands is faith that worketh by charity . (Gal. 5 :6). Read Matthew 25:31-46, which describes the Last Judgment as being based on works of charity. The first and greatest commandment, as given by Our Lord Himself, is to love the Lord God with all one's heart, mind, soul, and strength; and the second great commandment is to love one's neighbor as oneself. (Mark 12:30-31). When the rich young man asked Our Lord what he must do to gain eternal life, Our Lord answered: Keep the commandments. (Matt. 19:17). Thus, although faith is the beginning, it is not the complete fulfillment of the will of God. Nowhere in the Bible is it written that faith alone justifies. When St. Paul wrote, For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law, he was referring to works peculiar to the old Jewish Law, and he cited circumcision as an example." 
  5. ^ Schoeman, Roy H. (2003). Salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22): the role of Judaism in salvation history from Abraham to the Second Coming. San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press. LCCN 2003-105176. ISBN 089870975X. "By the mid 1970s, Time magazine placed the number of Messianic Jews in the U.S. at over 50,000; by 1993 this number had grown to 160,000 in the U.S.[42] and about 350,000 worldwide (1989 estimate[43]). ... There are currently over 400 Messianic synagogues worldwide, with at least 150 in the U.S." 
  6. ^ Wagner, Matthew. "Messianic Jews to protest 'discrimination'". 
  7. ^ Messianic Jews & The Law of Return
  8. ^ Israel's Messianic Jews Under Attack
  9. ^ "... the total number of Messianic groups in Israel is closing in on 200. They are mostly small, more like home groups, since the total number of Messianic believers in the land is thought to be about 15,000 at the most."
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d
    "Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus?". Ask the Rabbi. Aish HaTorah. February 1, 2001. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
    Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews". United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "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 Christianity and Judaism, 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 9, 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "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." 
    "FAQ's About Jewish Renewal". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-20. "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." 
  12. ^ a b Kaplan, Dana Evan (August 2005). "Introduction". in Dana Evan Kaplan (ed.). The Cambridge companion to American Judaism. Cambridge Companions to Religion. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. g. 9. LCCN 2004-024336. ISBN 0521822041. "For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness....Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews." 
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ a b c Simmons, Shraga. "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Aish HaTorah. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  15. ^ a b Berman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus". Haaretz. Retrieved 2007-02-20. "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.’" 
  16. ^ "". Perfect Word Ministries. 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-15. "As believers in the Messiah Yeshua, we are called to live a life of practical application as ordered by the Spirit. is designed to help Messianic believers have a closer walk with Yeshua, to aid Messianic families in living out the fullness of the abundant life promised in Messiah, and to exhort all of us to pass that fulfilled life on to the next generation." 
  17. ^ Rausch, David A. (September 15–22). "The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement". The Christian Century. p. 926. Retrieved 2007-02-19. "As I interviewed their leaders across the United States, I found a prevalent belief that they had coined the term “Messianic Judaism.” Others thought that the term had originated within the past ten or 20 years. Most of their opponents also agreed that this was so. In fact, both the term “Messianic Judaism” and the frustration with the movement go back to the 19th century. During 1895 Our Hope magazine, which became a bulwark in the fundamentalist-evangelical movement under the editorship of Arno C. Gaebelein, carried the subtitle “A Monthly Devoted to the Study of Prophecy and to Messianic Judaism.”" 
  18. ^ Defining Messianic Judaism. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations
  19. ^ Maoz, Baruch. Judaism is Not Jewish: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement. Christian Focus Publications. 2003. ISBN 1857927877
  20. ^ Sedaca, David. "The Rebirth of Messianic Judaism". International Messianic Jewish Alliance. Retrieved 2007-02-15. "Messianic Judaism of today is the latest expression of a process that is over one hundred years old. The resurgence of this movement can be traced to Great Britain before 1850. At that time, there were thousands of Jewish people who converted to Christianity, but the end result of most of these conversions was the losing of their Jewish identity. By the middle of the 19th century, there were many outstanding Jewish believers in Jesus who began questioning the then prevailing principle that the corollary of accepting Jesus was the forfeiture of one's Jewish heritage. Contacts in England between these Jewish believers ultimately led to the formation in 1813 of the first body of believers who recognized both their Jewish ancestry and their faith in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. The name of this association was "Beni Abraham" Children of Abraham." 
  21. ^ Winer, Robert I. (June 1990). The calling: the history of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, 1915-1990. Wynnewood, Pa: Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. pp. ??. LCCN 90-63000. ISBN 0962824305. 
  22. ^ "Messianic Judaism - The Best Recipe". Kehilat Sar Shalom. 2001. Retrieved 2007-02-28. "Modern Messianic Judaism was re-born in the 1960’s during a time when many Jewish people were coming to faith in the Messiah." 
  23. ^ Rausch, David A. Messianic Judaism: Its History Theology and Polity, Mellen Press, (December 1982), ISBN 0-88946-802-8
  24. ^ a b c "What are the Standards of the UMJC?". FAQ. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. June 2004. Retrieved 2000-07-03. "1. We believe that there is one G-d, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    2. We believe in the deity of the L-RD Yeshua, the Messiah, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  25. ^ Israel b. Betzalel (2009). "Trinitarianism". Retrieved 2009-07-03. "This then is who Yeshua is: He is not just a man, and as a man, he is not from Adam, but from God. He is the Word of HaShem, the Memra, the Davar, the Righteous One, he didn’t become righteous, he is righteous. He is called God’s Son, he is the agent of HaShem called HaShem, and he is “HaShem” who we interact with and not die." 
  26. ^ Most scripture scholars agree that there was not a recognised complete New Testament canon until the 4th century, although the books were widely available before then. See, for example, Raymond Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament (Doubleday, 1997), 10-15, esp. 15
  27. ^ "About Halakha Shel HaDerech". Retrieved 2008-09-18. ""Accepted halakha follows the centrality of the written Torah as the final arbiter and standard for behavior and right living. Primary consideration is given to the teachings of the Messiah, Yeshua, and those of his immediate disciples. Other sources include traditional rabbinic Judaism, with emphasis on understandings and traditions accepted during the period of the Taanitic Sages (Jewish teachers that existed during the time of the 2nd Temple period), as well as accepted halakha practiced by the majority of the Israelite community today."" 
  28. ^ "What is Torah?". FFOZ. Retrieved 2008-09-18. ""...there is undeniable value in reading and studying the Talmud and other rabbinic writings..."" 
  29. ^ Leman, Derek. "Why MJ Needs Talmud Study". Messianic Jewish Musings. Retrieved 2008-09-18. ""If we seriously believe that Messianic Judaism is a Judaism, and if Torah living is important to us, then there are a number of reasons why we must take on the difficult task of learning Talmud. In the first place, Talmud is a historical document without compare. In Talmud we find historical details about the life of Israel, the origins of customs, procedures from the Second Temple*, and so on. More than that, Talmud is a Jewish way of thought about subjects important from a Jewish frame of reference. It is a guide for Messianic Judaism in forming halakhah*, not as a book of halakhic decisions, but a guide to the kinds of questions that must be asked and the areas of life that require halakhic rulings. "" 
  30. ^ Kravitz, Chaia. "To Convert, or Not?". Messianic Jewish Online. Retrieved 2008-09-18. ""As long as what one is following in the Talmud does not contradict the Torah or other Biblical books, God's inspired Word, then there is nothing wrong with following (it)..."" 
  31. ^ "Vayechi". Beit Shalom Messianic Synagogue. Retrieved 2008-09-18. ""...the Mishnah as a part of the Talmud, and the Talmuds, both Jerusalem and Babylonian, have much value for us. We see in many cases that what is said there is paralleled by Yeshua's words. And while we can learn from the Talmuds, we must be careful to not give their words the weight of the Scriptures. HaShem's Word from Genesis to Revelation is our ultimate authority. While there are many things in the Talmuds that we view as wonderful traditions, and even descriptions of the way to do certain things, we cannot give them the same level of authority as Scripture. So, with this in mind, realize that as I bring you certain portions from the Talmuds that they are here to help us understand what we already believe as shown in Scripture, and their words are not authoritative unless they are in full agreement with the written Torah."" 
  32. ^ a b c d "So, What Exactly is a Messianic Congregation?". 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." 
  33. ^ Bernay, Adam J. (December 3, 2007). "Who we are". 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." 
  34. ^ "Shema Means 'hear' and is the quintessential Jewish text from Dvarim/Deuteronomy 6:4.: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" showing the uniqueness of the G-d of Israel. Israel didn't require many gods (like harvest gods, fertility gods, fire gods) The God of Israel is unique and infinite -- He alone is sovereign. The Shema is a confirmation in Torah that Yahveh is a compound unity ("echad") not as is commonly misunderstood."
  35. ^ "Article denouncing trinitarian views". 
  36. ^ Israel b. Betzalel (2009). "Is Yeshua God?". Retrieved 2009-07-03. "This then is who Yeshua is: He is not just a man, and as a man, he is not from Adam, but from God. He is the Word of HaShem, the Memra, the Davar, the Righteous One, he didn’t become righteous, he is righteous. He is called God’s Son, he is the agent of HaShem called HaShem, and he is “HaShem” who we interact with and not die." 
  37. ^ "Was Jesus "God" or "the son of God"?". B'nai El Chai. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "Why were the Jewish followers of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph labeled as heretics by the Roman church? One reason for this is because they did not believe that Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus) was God." 
  38. ^ "To Whom Shall We Go? Examining Objections to Yeshua". First Fruits of Zion. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "Messianic believers are often nagged by thoughts like, “If I was taught errors about the Torah, then I also may have been taught errors about other things, such as the divine nature of Messiah.” When we face questions like this—in our own spiritual lives and in our faith communities—are we truly prepared to answer them? This issue is compounded by erroneous information that is readily available on the Internet and that makes its way into our small and vulnerable communities. We must be prepared to fight back—it is a matter of great importance." 
  39. ^ "Halakha Shel HaDerech - Messianic Halakha - 2.1 Identity - 2.1.5 Torah". The Jerusalem Council. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-28. "The Torah is the foundational and complete description of the obligations of covenant members (Deut 32:46-47). Covenant members are obligated to obey the Torah (teaching and instruction of HaShem) out of love for HaShem (Deut 6:5) and his ways (Deut 7:12, Deut 10:12-13), and out of love for others (Lev 19:18). The Messiah stands as the living role model in how to observe these obligations fully (Deut 18:15-19) as he is the Living Torah made flesh (Gen 1:1, Gen 1:27, Gen 15:1, Gen 17:13, Ex 33:11, Num 15:31, Deut 5:5, Deut 8:3)." 
  40. ^ "Statement of Faith". Kehilat T'Nuvah. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "We believe that the Torah (five books of Moses) is a comprehensive summary of HaShem's foundational laws and ways, as found in both the new and older covenant (Ex. 19&20; Deut. 5; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:10; Matt. 5:17-19). 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 (Matt. 5:17-19; I Cor. 7:19; Rev. 14:12)." 
  41. ^ "Statement of Faith". Kehilat T'Nuvah. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "Just as the prophet Isaiah foretold (Isa. 56), Yahweh is gathering many from the nations to those whom He already gathered (Israel). Together these individuals comprise the universal church (covenant community of Yahweh). These Jews and Gentiles in Messiah collectively are called Israel throughout the Scriptures. There is no other "church" or covenant community; just one new man, one torah, one Messiah, one Spirit, one God." 
  42. ^ a b "Mission, Vision, & Purpose of the Jerusalem Council". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. "" 
  43. ^ "Authoritative Sources in Halakhic Decision Making". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2007. 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." 
  44. ^ "In Search of Messianic Jewish Thought". GoogleCache. GoogleCache. 2007. 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, NM: UMJC, 1997, pp. 51-81." 
  45. ^ "2.1 Identity". Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  46. ^ "Jewish Status". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  47. ^ See John 3:16 and Romans 10:9
  48. ^ "The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into Messianic Jewish Space". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  49. ^ One Law Movements; a Challenge to the Messianic Jewish Community January 28, 2005
  50. ^ One Law Movements A Response to Russ Resnik & Daniel Juster
  51. ^ MJAA position paper:The Ephraimite Error
  52. ^ Romans 11:11-26
  53. ^ "A New Paradigm For Messianic Jewish Outreach: Catching Up With the Future". Rabbenu. May 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  54. ^ Lancaster and Berkowitz (see below)
  55. ^ Brad H. Young (1997). Paul the Jewish Theologian: A Pharisee among Christians, Jews, and Gentiles. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 1565632486. "Paul calls himself a Pharisee. We should listen to what Paul tells us about himself. In fact, there is no evidence anywhere in the New Testament, that he departed from his firm convictions as a Pharisee." 
  56. ^ "Halakha Shel HaDerech - Messianic Halakha - 2.0 Conversion - 2.1 Identity - 2.1.2 Yehudim - Jews". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "Following the consensus of Jewish tradition, we recognize as a Jew anyone who is born of a Jewish mother or father, or who is a convert to Judaism." 
  57. ^ "Halakha Shel HaDerech - Messianic Halakha - 2.0 Conversion - 2.3 Mikvah - Immersion". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "The mikvah of a convert to HaDerech (a Jewish sect, known as the Way, which this site represents) is a response of a good conscience towards God. The mikvah is a halakhic requirement for all converts to HaDerech. In addition to it being a response of a good conscience toward God, the mikvah serves to publicly proclaim one's identity as a member of HaDerech via witnesses which must be present." 
  58. ^ "Halakha Shel HaDerech - Messianic Halakha - 2.0 Conversion - 2.2 Milah - 2.2.1 Definition of Necessity for Positional Righteousness". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "As commonly understood and accepted within the body of Messiah worldwide, and agreed to by this site, the scriptural commandment of circumcision is not necessary for one to obtain positional right standing with HaShem and thus receive eternal life. It never was, and never will be. Abraham was circumcised after HaShem declared him righteous by his faith on the Word of HaShem. (Gen 15:6, Gen 17:10)" 
  59. ^ "Halakha Shel HaDerech - Messianic Halakha - 2.0 Conversion - 2.2 Milah - 2.2.2 Definition of Necessity for Behavioral Righteousness". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. "Not addressed by the first Jerusalem Council, is the necessity of believers from the nations to fulfill the scriptural commandment of circumcision from a behavioral righteousness standpoint. The commandment is clear: "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised." (Gen 17:10). Believers are reckoned as Abraham's seed: "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:29). So then, although circumcision is not a requirement for positional right standing with HaShem, it is a requirement for those who are Abraham's seed, and who desire to "walk blameless." (Gen 17:1)." 
  60. ^ "2.2 Milah - Circumcision". 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-12. "The commandment is clear: "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised." (Gen 17:10). Believers are reckoned as Abraham's seed: "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:29). So then, although circumcision is not a requirement for positional right standing with HaShem, it is a requirement for those who are Abraham's seed, and who desire to "walk blameless." (Gen 17:1)." 
  61. ^ "The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into Messianic Jewish Space". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  62. ^
    • "statement of belief…". Retrieved 2007-12-20. "We are not "Jews for Jesus". We strongly agree with their work of bringing non-Messianic Jews to acceptance of Yeshua(Jesus), as the Jewish Messiah. However, we just as strongly disagree with the belief/policy of "Jews for Jesus"; upon acceptance of Messiah Yeshua(Christ Jesus), Jews(and Gentiles), are not to obey and follow the Torah(Law)! This contradicts and violates the Tanakh and Messianic Scriptures that speak of Yeshua(Jesus). We believe the Torah speaks of Yeshua (Jesus) and those that love Him keep His commandments." 
    • Kavanaugh, Ellen. "Actually, we are NOT Jews for Jesus (Messianic Judaism)". Light of Moshiach!. Retrieved 2007-12-20. "I consider Jews For Jesus a Christian organization. Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews For Jesus, is a Christian missionary, schooled in a standard bible college and not trained as a rabbi. The Jews For Jesus organization has worked diligently teaching Jesus to the non-believing Jewish people, but it is Christianity being taught and not Messianic Judaism (in spite of JFJ efforts to make the two terms synonymous). I would like to see evangelism to the Jewish people which includes teaching Torah observance." 
    • Bernay, Adam J. (December 3, 2007). "Who we are". Retrieved 2007-12-20. "We are NOT "Jews for Jesus"! "Jews for Jesus" is a primarily Baptist missionary group whose sole focus is converting Jews to Christianity. They are not a part of the Messianic movement and have never been in favor of Messianic congregations! We do not approve of their theology, their ideology, or their methods." 
  63. ^ See Messiah#Christian view for further elaboration
  64. ^ Berkley, George E. (February 1997). "And Collapse…and Collapse". Jews. Boston, MA: Branden Books. pp. g. 129. LCCN 96-47021. ISBN 0828320276. "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." 
  65. ^ "Typical Messianic Statement of Faith". Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  66. ^ "Who Is A Jew? Messianic Style". Chaia Kravitz. 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 in to the vine of Israel through His grace." 
  67. ^ "Holiday Chart". 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  68. ^ Matthew 5:17-19, Matthew 28:19-20, 1 John 3:4, Romans 3:3
  69. ^ Lancaster and Berkowitz
  70. ^ "Mission, Vision, & Purpose of the Jerusalem Council". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. "Our vision also includes the hope of re-appointing a beit din for Messianic believers worldwide, to be called the Jerusalem Council, or Beit HaDin HaYerushalmi, modeled after the original, and submitted to the new Jewish Sanhedrin in issues that do not contradict obedient faith to Messiah Yeshua or his teachings; to provide guidance in issues that may conflict with the Sanhedrin, or in issues that contradict the primacy of the written Word of God, or in issues which may divide the Body of Messiah; to promote the unity of the Body of Messiah worldwide by Spirit-led direction through means of accountability, open dialogue, reasoned doctrine, and sound leadership; and to provide corporate and individual edification by providing apologetic, midrashic, and halakhic guidance for the Body of Messiah." 
  71. ^ "Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council Standards of Observance". ourrabbis.og. Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. "At that time a set of Messianic Jewish leaders from New England invited some of their colleagues from outside the region to join them in working on a common set of halakhic standards for themselves and their congregations. While other areas of Messianic Jewish life are of profound importance, such as worship, ethics, education, and social concern, we believed that halakhic standards had received far less attention than their place in Messianic Jewish life warranted.." 
  72. ^ a b Reinckens, Rick (2002). "Frequently Asked Questions". MessianicJews. Info. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  73. ^ "Shabbat". Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  74. ^ "Holidays". Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  75. ^ "Kashrut". Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  76. ^ "Joel Chernoff". Lamb Messianic Music. 2006. 
  77. ^ "Ted Pearce Official site". 
  78. ^ Lotker, Michael (May 2004). "It’s More About What is the Messiah than Who is the Messiah". A Christian’s guide to Judaism. New York, NY: Paulist Press. pp. g. 35. LCCN 2003-024813. ISBN 0809142325. "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." 
  79. ^ a b 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." 
  80. ^ a b
  81. ^ Opposition to Messianic Judaism from the Jewish community by Robinson, B. (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance)
  82. ^ Fackenheim, Emil (1987). What is Judaism? An Interpretation for the Present Age. Summit Books. pp. 249. ISBN 0-671-46243-1. 
  83. ^ 1998 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. MISSIONARIES AND MESSIANIC CHURCHES
  84. ^ Dept. of Theology & Religious Studies, Lampeter
  85. ^ Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). "Models of Messianic Judaism" (Google Book Search). Messianic Judaism. London, New York: Continuum. pp. 203–215. LCCN 99-050300. ISBN 0304707309. OCLC 42719687.,M1. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  86. ^ Reed Business Information quote @ Amazon
  87. ^ "Israeli Court Rules Jews for Jesus Cannot Automatically Be Citizens". World. The New York Times. December 27, 1989. Retrieved 2008-04-24. "‘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.’" 
  88. ^ Izenberg, Dan (April 22, 2008). "Court applies Law of Return to Messianic Jews because of fathers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-04-24. "An article published in the Baptist Press after the High Court ruling was handed down maintained that the court had ruled that ‘the Messianics should receive equal treatment under the Israeli Law of Return, which says that anyone who is born Jewish can immigrate from anywhere in the world to Israel and be granted citizenship automatically.’ But, as was explained to The Jerusalem Post by a legal assistant to Myers, this is apparently a misunderstanding of the ruling, which determined that the petitioners were entitled to automatic new immigrant status and citizenship precisely because they were not Jews as defined by the Law of Return, but rather because they were the offspring of Jewish fathers." 
  89. ^ "Messianic Ruling". 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17. "Myers told CBN News, "The bottom line is that if your father is Jewish or if any of your grandparents are Jewish from your father's side - even if you're a Messianic Jew - you can immigrate to Israel under the law of return or under the law of citizenship if you marry an Israeli citizen."" 
  90. ^ "2008 Report on International Religious Freedom - Israel and the occupied territories". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US Government. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  91. ^ Wagner, Matthew. "US report: Rise in violence against Messianic Jews and Christians". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 

Further reading

  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. Messianic Judaism, Continuum International Publishing Group (1 February 2001), ISBN 0-8264-5458-5
  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan, ed. Voices of Messianic Judaism: Confronting Critical Issues Facing a Maturing Movement, Messianic Jewish Resources International (June, 2001), ISBN 1-880226-93-6
  • Feher, Shoshanah. Passing Over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, AltaMira Press (1998), ISBN 0-7619-8953-6; 0761989528
  • Fieldsend, John. Messianic Jews - Challenging Church And Synagogue, Monarch Publications/MARC/Olive Press, (1993), ISBN 1-85424-228-8
  • Fischer, John, ed.; The Enduring Paradox: Exploratory Essays in Messianic Judaism, Messianic Jewish Resources International (July, 2000), ISBN 1-880226-90-1
  • Goldberg, Louis, ed. How Jewish Is Christianity? Two Views On The Messianic Movement, Zondervan, (2003), ISBN 0-310-24490-0
  • Gruber, Daniel, The Church and the Jews: The Biblical Relationship (Springfield, MO: General Council of the Assemblies of God, Intercultural Ministries, 1991)
  • Gruber, Daniel, Torah and the New Covenant—An Introduction (Elijah Publishing 1998) ISBN 0-9669253-0-0
  • Harris-Shapiro, Carol. Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi's Journey through Religious Change in America, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8070-1040-5
  • Hefley, James C. The New Jews, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (1974), ISBN 0-8423-4680-5
  • Hegg, Tim. The Letter Writer: Paul's Background and Torah Perspective, First Fruits of Zion, (2002), ISBN 1-892124-16-5
  • Juster, Daniel. Growing to Maturity: A Messianic Jewish Guide, Union of Messianic Congregations; 3rd ed. (1987), ISBN 0-9614555-0-0
  • Juster, Daniel. Jewish Roots - A Foundation Of Biblical Theology, Destiny Image; 3rd ed. (1995), ISBN 1-56043-142-3
  • Kinzer, Mark. Postmissionary Messianic Judaism, Brazos, (November 2005), ISBN 1-58743-152-1
  • Pearce, Tony. The Messiah Factor, New Wine Press, (Spring 2004), ISBN 1-903725-32-1
  • Prill, Patrick. Expectations About God And Messiah, Yeshua Publishing LLC (2004), ISBN 0974208604
  • Robinson, Rich, ed. The Messianic Movement: A Field Guide For Evangelical Christians From Jews For Jesus, Purple Pomegranate Publications, (2005), ISBN 1-881022-62-5
  • Schiffman, Dr Michael. Return Of The Remnant - The Rebirth Of Messianic Judaism, Lederer Books, (1996), ISBN 1-880226-53-7
  • Scholem, Gershom. The Messianic Idea in Judaism and other Essays on Jewish Spirituality, (1971), ISBN 978-0805210439
  • Stern, David H. Messianic Jewish Manifesto, Messianic Jewish Resources International, (May, 1988), ISBN 965-359-002-2
  • Telchin, Stan. Messianic Judaism is Not Christianity, Chosen Books (September, 2004), ISBN 0-8007-9372-2

External links



Hebrew roots


Simple English

Messianic Judaism, according the MJAA, "is a Biblically-based movement of people who, as committed Jews, believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah of Israel of whom the Jewish Law and Prophets spoke." About History MesJud MJAA:About:Messianic Judaism The branches of Judaism do not consider Messianic Judaism to be Judaism. browse.asp?s=messianic&f=tqak&offset=4 Orthodox: "Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus?"Jews Not J5480.html Conservative:"Messianic Jews Are Not Jews"Reform: "Missionary Impossible"Reconstructionist/Renewal: "What is ALEPH's position on so called messianic Judaism?"


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