About Messianic Judaism
Ten Questions About Messianic Judaism and the Jewish Roots of Christianity
- Should I really try to persuade my Jewish neighbor to believe in Yeshua (Jesus)?
- Why do Jews, especially non-religious ones, reject Yeshua?
- Should I invite my Jewish neighbor to my church?
- What is a Messianic Congregation?
- Why do Messianic Jews still keep parts of the Law of Moses; after all, wasn't the Law done away with?
- What theology do Messianic Jews follow--Covenant Theology or Dispensational Theology?
- Do Jewish people use the Old Testament, or is their Bible different from ours?
- What is the Talmud?
- Is there any relationship between the Jewish customs and the Christian ones?
- Should Christians celebrate Passover or any of the other Jewish holidays?
Should I really try to persuade my Jewish neighbor to believe in Yeshua (Jesus)?
Yeshua commanded us to go out into all the world and make disciples (see Matthew 28:19-20), beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria (Acts 1:8). Even the apostle Paul, who was called the apostle to the Gentiles, said that the Gospel should go to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16). Paul was so convicted by the need for Jews to receive salvation that he was willing to give up his own salvation if this would have brought salvation to the Jewish people (Romans 9:2-4). The salvation of the Jewish people was a priority in the lives of both Paul and Yeshua, and it needs to be a priority in the life of every Christian. It is every Christian's duty to share the Gospel of Yeshua with their Jewish neighbor. The apostle Paul said that "it is by means of their [the Jews] stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy" (Romans 11:11, Jewish New Testament). Every Christian is called to make the Jewish people jealous, so that they will want to hear the Good News. For more detailed information, seeand .
Why do Jews, especially non-religious ones, reject Yeshua?
It is a common misconception that Jewish people are experts on the Old Testament, and that after much study they have decided that Yeshua is not the Messiah. The truth is that most Jewish people know less about the Old Testament than the average Christian. They reject Yeshua because of the way in which he has been portrayed by the Church down through the centuries. There has been so much persecution of Jews by so-called Christians (e.g., the Crusades, Inquisition, Holocaust, and modern-day white supremacist groups) that the Jewish community has rejected Yeshua without even knowing what he taught.
Should I invite my Jewish neighbor to my church?
Yes, but it would be even better to locate a nearby messianic congregation and invite your Jewish neighbor to attend services with you. However, before you invite him to church, you will need to build some bridges and develop sensitivities toward the Jewish people.is an excellent book that contains detailed information on this subject.
What is a Messianic Congregation?
"Messianic congregations are a recent phenomenon on the pages of ecclesiastical history, but they have a heritage that extends back to the earliest period of the New Covenant faith. . . . Messianic congregations are part of the ecclesia [a Greek word meaning "called out ones," referring to the gathering together of believers in the Messiah]. However, they refer to themselves as congregations or synagogues to reflect and communicate the Jewishness of the Messianic faith to a people [the Jews] who have mistakenly come to associate belief in Jesus the Messiah with anti-Semitism." (Dr. Michael Schiffman).
Why do Messianic Jews still keep parts of the Law of Moses; after all, wasn't the Law done away with?
When a Jew becomes a follower of Yeshua, he does not cease being a Jew. Yeshua said that he did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17-19). In addition, James and the elders of the congregation in Jerusalem told the apostle Paul that tens of thousands of Jewish people had believed in Yeshua and were zealously keeping the Law (Acts 21:20). Thus, the early Jewish believers (approx. 30 years after Yeshua's death and resurrection) were still keeping the Law. For more detailed information, see.
What theology do Messianic Jews follow--Covenant Theology or Dispensational Theology?
Although some Messianic Jews follow one of these two theologies, many do not. Messianic Judaism has its own theology, of sorts, which extracts truths from both of these theologies. Detailed information can be found in, and in condensed form in .
Do Jewish people use the Old Testament, or is their Bible different from ours?
The Jewish people use the Tanakh (or T-N-K)--which is an acronym for Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings). The contents of the Tanakh are identical with the "Christian" version of the Old Testament; however, the order in which the books appear and the chapter and verse divisions are different. The order in which the books appear in the Tanakh is based on the Hebrew text; whereas the order in which the books appear in the "Christian" version of the Old Testament is based on the Greek translation (the Septuagint) of the Hebrew text.
What is the Talmud?
The Talmud is comprised of the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Mishnah is a compilation of the Jewish Oral Law that was codified in 220 CE (Common Era). Orthodox Judaism believes that the Oral Law (corresponding to what the New Testament calls the "tradition of the elders") was given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Gemara completes the Talmud by providing commentary on the Mishnah. It was compiled between the second and fifth centuries CE. The English-only version of the Talmud (by Soncino Press) contains 20 volumes. Messianic Jews do not accept the Talmud as the authoritative Word of G-d.
Is there any relationship between the Jewish customs and the Christian ones?
Definitely. The Lord's Supper comes from the Passover meal (called the seder) and the ordinance of baptism comes from immersion (t'vilah) in a special pool of water (mikveh). The Jewish marriage ceremony is also very similar to the marriage feast of the Lamb. For more detailed information, seeand .
Should Christians celebrate Passover or any of the other Jewish holidays?
Yeshua observed the biblical holidays during his earthly life. In addition, the apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian Christians to celebrate the seder (1 Corinthians 5:8). The biblical feasts were given to teach, in a practical way, more about the nature of G-d and his plan for mankind. For example, Passover is rich in the symbolism of the Messiah's death, burial, and resurrection. One of Yeshua's last earthly acts was the celebration of the Passover. Gathering his disciples in a small room in Jerusalem, he led them in the annual seder dinner. For more detailed information, see, The , and our . These materials provide a first-hand experience of the Jewish Passover, as Yeshua and his followers celebrated it, and are available here from our webstore.