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Messianic Judaism (Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת מְשִׁיחִית or יהדות משיחית, Yahadút Mešiḥít) is a modernist and syncretic movement of Protestant Christianity that incorporates some elements of Judaism and other Jewish traditions into evangelicalism.
It emerged in the 1960s and 1970s from the earlier Hebrew Christian movement, and was most prominently propelled through the non-profit organization "Jews for Jesus" founded in 1973 by Martin "Moishe" Rosen, an American minister under the Conservative Baptist Association.
Evangelical Protestants who identify as Messianic Jews adhere to conventional Christian beliefs, including the concept of salvation through faith in Jesus (referred to by the Hebrew-language name Yeshua among adherents) as the Jewish Messiah and saviour from sin, and the spiritual authority of the Bible (including the old and new testaments.)  Belief in Jesus as a messianic figure and as divine (i.e. God the Son) is considered by Jews to be one of the most defining distinctions between Judaism and Christianity.
Among other evangelical groups, Messianic Judaism is usually accepted as a form of Christianity. However, adherents of Messianic Judaism claim that the movement is instead a form of Judaism. In the Hebrew language, they tend to identify themselves with the terms maaminim (מאמינים, lit. 'believers') and yehudim (יְהוּדִים, lit. 'Jews') in opposition to being identified as notzrim (נוצרים, lit. 'Christians').[a] Jewish organizations inside and outside of Israel reject this framing; the Supreme Court of Israel has also rejected this claim in cases related to the Israeli Law of Return, and Messianic Judaism is recognized only as a Christian movement in the country. In this context, there is discourse among scholars as to whether Messianic Judaism should be labeled a Jewish or Christian religious sect.
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], Messianic population estimates were between 175,000 and 250,000 members in the United States, between 10,000 and 20,000 members in Israel, and an estimated total worldwide membership of 350,000.[needs update]
Efforts by Jewish Christians to proselytize to Jews began in the 1st century, when Paul the Apostle preached at the synagogues in each city that he visited. However, by the 4th century CE, non-biblical accounts of missions to the Jews[b] 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.
Main article: Hebrew Christian Movement
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, Bessarabia, in 1884. 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.
In the early 1900s there was a community of Messianic Jews in South Africa representing themselves as "Christian Jews" whose goal was to create a "true and genuine Christ-loving Jewish Christian Synogogue".
Missions to the Jews saw a period of growth between the 1920s and the 1960s. In the 1940s and 1950s, 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.
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 believing in Jesus". This impulse was amplified by the results of the Six-Day War and the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish control.
In 2004, there were 300 Messianic congregations in the United States, with roughly half of all attendants being gentiles, and roughly one third of all congregations consisting of 30 or fewer members. Many of these congregations belong to the International Association of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS), the Union of Messianic Congregations (UMJC), or 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." As of 2005[update], the MJAA was an organization of Jewish members who welcome non-Jews as "honored associates". In 1986, the MJAA formed a congregational branch called the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).
In June 1979, 19 congregations in North America met at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and formed the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC). In 2022, it would have 75 congregations in 8 countries. In 2016, Douglas Hamp founded The Way Congregation near Denver, CO. with the concept of recognizing fundamentalist Christian beliefs and yet embracing One Law Theology, Two House Theology (see sections below), and Commonwealth Theology. Their website states the fellowship was founded "to serve as a bridge between the Jews and the gentile Church." Non-Jewish congregants are not encouraged to convert to Judaism and Jewish attendants are encouraged to celebrate their Jewish heritage. Hamp blames the heretic Marcion for mainstream Christianity's juxtaposition of Law and Grace. On the other hand, the Congregation meets on the Sabbath, celebrates the Feasts, and teaches conformance to the Dietary Laws given through Moses.
The Messianic Seal of Jerusalem is a symbol used by Messianic Judaism. The symbol is a depiction of the Temple 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 symbols such the cross in the Star of David, and the dolphin.
There is an ongoing dispute as to whether or not the seal dates from the 1st century CE, or if it is a 20th-century invention.
See also: Oral gospel traditions
As with many religious faiths, the exact tenets held vary from congregation to congregation. In general, essential doctrines of Messianic Judaism include views on:
Certain additional doctrines are more open to differences in interpretation, including those on sin and atonement and on faith and works.
Many Messianic Jews affirm the doctrine of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as three representations of the same divinity.
Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament[c] 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.
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.
See also: 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 and Ruth, Genesis, and 7 systematic doctrinal studies.
Some Messianic believers define sin as transgression of the Law of God and include the concept of original sin. Some adherents atone for their sins through prayer and repentance – the 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.
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.
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.[non-primary source needed]
One Law theology (also known as "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[who?] 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.
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 convert 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. 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.
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 the 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 the Torah was not abolished for Jews. They point out that in Acts 21:17–36, Jewish believers in Jerusalem are described as "zealous for the Law".
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[d]] 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.
Large numbers of those calling themselves Messianic Jews are not of Jewish descent, but join the movement 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 spiritually distinct and conversion as an "unbiblical practice".
Messianic Jews practice baptism, calling it a mikveh ("cistern", from Leviticus 11:36 rather than the term tvila ("baptism" (טבילה) in the Hebrew New Testament).
Main article: Religious male circumcision
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.
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 incorporate Israeli songs. The movement 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.
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[which?] 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.
See also: Judaism's view of Jesus
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 religious leader 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 religious leader, 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.
See also: Religion in Israel § Christianity
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, such as 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; in one 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.
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. 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."
A Birmingham, Alabama police employee's religious discrimination case was settled in her favor after she filed suit over having to work on the Jewish Sabbath.
Main article: List of Messianic Jewish organizations
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.
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.
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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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Many people ask how to convert to Judaism through the Jewish sect of HaDerech, also known as The Way, or Messianic Judaism.
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.
The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) envisions 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. Messianic Jewish groups may also include those from non-Jewish backgrounds who have a confirmed call to participate fully in the life and destiny of the Jewish people. We are committed to embodying this definition in our constituent congregations and in our shared institutions.
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.'
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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Yes I believe in the Spirit of God, the Ruach HaKodesh. Yet, to trinitarians wishing to stop there, I could ask, "Who filled the temple at its dedication? What is the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit?" As we read on, we clearly read that it was the Glory that filled the tabernacle, the temple, etc. So what is the Glory? Where does the Glory fit into the trinitarian model? So then, as a chasid, I simply just agree with scripture and with what scripture says concerning the matter and leave it at that and thank HaShem.
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To study the whole and authoritative Word of God, including the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant) under the leading of the Holy Spirit
... 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?
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.
"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.
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.
Our approach to halakhic decision-making is based on a recognition of the paramount importance and authority of Scripture (i.e., the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings) in the development of Halakhah....As Messianic Jews, we affirm the special precedence given to scriptural law in traditional Halakhah, while likewise affirming the scriptural character of the Apostolic Writings (i.e., the New Testament) and the unique ways in which they contribute to halakhic development....In addressing matters of Halakhah, Scripture always has the highest halakhic authority and sanctity. Thus, when traditional Judaism distinguishes between laws that are d'oraita (i.e., ordained by the Tanakh) and those that are d'rabbanan (i.e., established by rabbinic authority), precedence is always given to those that are d'oraita.
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.
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Following the consensus of Jewish tradition, we recognize as a Jew anyone who is born of a Jewish mother or who is a convert to Judaism. We also recognize as a Jew anyone who is born of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother if that person has undertaken public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. In 1947 the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) of the Reform movement...
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.
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).
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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.
Jews do not believe that Jesus was divine or the "son of God," or the Messiah prophesied in Jewish scripture. He is seen as a "false messiah," meaning someone who claimed (or whose followers claimed for him) the mantle of the Messiah but who ultimately did not meet the requirements laid out in Jewish belief.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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."
Since then the Supreme Court has ruled that Messianic Jews whose mothers are Jewish can be denied Israeli citizenship. In contrast, those who are Jewish solely through their fathers cannot be denied citizenship. This is based on an interpretation of a 1970 amendment to the Law of Return.
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.
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.
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).