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Messianic Judaism

Messianic Judaism is a syncretic[1] religious movement that arose in the 1960s and 70s.[9] It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of religious Jewish practice and terminology.[14] Messianic Judaism generally holds that Jesus is both the Jewish Messiah and "God the Son" (one person of the Trinity),[18] though some within the movement do not hold to Trinitarian beliefs.[19] With few exceptions, both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are believed to be authoritative and divinely inspired scripture.

Salvation in most forms of Messianic Judaism is achieved only through acceptance of Jesus as one's saviour.[20] It is believed that all sin has been atoned for by Jesus' death and resurrection. Any Jewish laws or customs that are followed are cultural and do not contribute to salvation.[10] Belief in the messiahship and divinity of Jesus, which Messianic Judaism generally shares, is viewed by many Christian denominations[21] and Jewish religious movements[22] as a defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism.[28] Mainstream Christian groups usually accept Messianic Judaism as a form of Christianity.[21]

Some adherents of Messianic Judaism are ethnically Jewish,[2][21] and many of them argue that the movement is a sect of Judaism.[29] Many refer to themselves in

  • UMJC Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations A major Messianic denomination
  • IAMCS The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues

External links

  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan, ed. Voices of Messianic Judaism: Confronting Critical Issues Facing a Maturing Movement, Messianic Jewish Resources International (June, 2001), ISBN 978-1-880226-93-3
  • Feher, Shoshanah. Passing Over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, AltaMira Press (1998), ISBN 978-0-7619-8953-0, ISBN 978-0-7619-8952-3
  • Fieldsend, John. Messianic Jews – Challenging Church And Synagogue, Monarch Publications/MARC/Olive Press, (1993), ISBN 978-1-85424-228-0
  • Fischer, John, ed.; The Enduring Paradox: Exploratory Essays in Messianic Judaism, Messianic Jewish Resources International (July, 2000), ISBN 978-1-880226-90-2
  • Fruchtenbaum, Arnold, ThM, PhD.; "Messianic Christology" ISBN 978-0-914863-07-6
  • Fruchtenbaum, Arnold, ThM, PhD.; "Hebrew Christianity: Its Theology, History & Philosophy" ISBN 978-0-914863-01-4
  • Fruchtenbaum, Arnold, ThM, PhD.; A Passover Haggadah for Jewish Believers"
  • Green, William, PhD. "A History of the 20th Century Movement in America of "Jewish Believers" in "Yeshua Ha Mashiach" (Jesus Christ)". 
  • Goldberg, Louis, ed. How Jewish Is Christianity? Two Views On The Messianic Movement, Zondervan, (2003), ISBN 0-310-24490-0
  • Harris-Shapiro, Carol. Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi's Journey through Religious Change in America, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-8070-1040-2
  • Hefley, James C. The New Jews, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (1974), ISBN 978-0-8423-4680-1
  • Kinzer, Mark. Postmissionary Messianic Judaism, Brazos, (November 2005), ISBN 978-1-58743-152-4
  • Liberman, Paul. The Fig Tree Blossoms Fountain Press, Inc. (July 21, 1976) ISBN 978-0-89350-000-9 [2]
  • Mayhew, Eugene J. Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology: A Constructive Approach Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sep 2010; accessed through bnet, the CBS Interactive Business Network
  • "The Messianic Jew". 1910. 
  • Pearce, Tony. The Messiah Factor, New Wine Press, (Spring 2004), ISBN 978-1-903725-32-0
  • Prill, Patrick (2004). Expectations About God And MessiahISBN 978-0-9742086-0-2 . Yeshua Publishing LLC. 
  • Rausch, David A. The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement. Christian Century. p. 926. 
  • Saperstein, Marc (ed.), Essential Papers on Messianic Movements and Personalities in Jewish History, NY: New York University Press, (1992), ISBN 978-0-8147-7943-9
  • Schonfield, Hugh (1936). History of Jewish Christianity. London: Duckworth. 

Further reading

  • Harris-Shapiro, Carol (1998). Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi's Journey through Religious Change in America. Boston: Beacon.  
  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). Messianic Judaism: A Critical Anthology. London: Continuum.  
  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2001). Voices of Messianic Judaism: Confronting Critical Issues Facing a Maturing Movement. Baltimore: Lederer Books.  
  • Burgess, Stanley M., ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. Routledge.  
  • Burgess, Stanley M.; Van der Maas, Eduard, eds. (2003). The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, revised and expanded edition. Zondervan.  


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b Feher, Shoshanah. Passing over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, Rowman Altamira, 1998, ISBN 978-0-7619-8953-0, p. 140. "This interest in developing a Jewish ethnic identity may not be surprising when we consider the 1960s, when Messianic Judaism arose."
  3. ^ a b Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America 2.  
  4. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America 2.  
  5. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8160-5456-5, p. 373. "Messianic Judaism is a Protestant movement that emerged in the last half of the 20th century among believers who were ethnically Jewish but had adopted an Evangelical Christian faith... By the 1960s, a new effort to create a culturally Jewish Protestant Christianity emerged among individuals who began to call themselves Messianic Jews."
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Şenay, Bülent. "Messianic Judaism/Jewish Christianity". Overview of World Religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy at the  
  9. ^ a b Please see references:[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
  10. ^ a b Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America 2.  
  11. ^ a b Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America 2.  
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Ariel, Yaakov S. (2000). "Chapter 20: The Rise of Messianic Judaism". Evangelizing the chosen people: missions to the Jews in America, 1880–2000 ( 
  14. ^ Please see references:[5][10][11][12][13]
  15. ^  
  16. ^ a b c "What are the Standards of the UMJC?". FAQ. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. June 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 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.
  17. ^ "Our Beliefs". Memphis, Tennessee: B'rit Hadasha Messianic Jewish Synagogue. 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2010. WE BELIEVE:…
    *There is one God as declared in the Shema [Deuteronomy 6:4], who is “Echad,” a compound unity, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit [Isaiah 48:16-17; Ephesians 4:4-6]. *In the Deity of our Lord, Messiah Yeshua, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His personal future return to this earth in power and glory to rule.
  18. ^ Please see references:[15][16][17]
  19. ^ a b c 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. 
  20. ^ a b "Do I need to be Circumcised?". Feb 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010. To convert to the Jewish sect of HaDerech, accepting Yeshua as your King is the first act after one’s heart turns toward HaShem and His Torah – as one can not obey a commandment of God if they first do not love God, and we love God by following his Messiah. Without first accepting Yeshua as the King and thus obeying Him, then getting circumcised for the purpose of Jewish conversion only gains you access to the Jewish community. It means nothing when it comes to inheriting a place in the World to Come.…Getting circumcised apart from desiring to be obedient to HaShem, and apart from accepting Yeshua as your King, is nothing but a surgical procedure, or worse, could lead to you believe that Jewish identity grants you a portion in the World to Come – at which point, what good is Messiah Yeshua, the Word of HaShem to you? He would have died for nothing!…As a convert from the nations, part of your obligation in keeping the Covenant, if you are a male, is to get circumcised in fulfillment of the commandment regarding circumcision. Circumcision is not an absolute requirement of being a Covenant member (that is, being made righteous before HaShem, and thus obtaining eternal life), but it is a requirement of obedience to God’s commandments, because circumcision is commanded for those who are of the seed of Abraham, whether born into the family, adopted, or converted.…If after reading all of this you understand what circumcision is, and that is an act of obedience, rather than an act of gaining favor before HaShem for the purpose of receiving eternal life, then if you are male believer in Yeshua the Messiah for the redemption from death, the consequence of your sin of rebellion against Him, then pursue circumcision, and thus conversion into Judaism, as an act of obedience to the Messiah. 
  21. ^ a b c
    • Stetzer, Ed (October 13, 2005). "A Missional Church", The Christian Index. "Missional churches are indigenous. Churches that are indigenous have taken root in the soil and reflect, to some degree, the culture of their community... The messianic congregation (is)... in this case indigenous to Jewish culture."
  22. ^ a b c
    Simmons, Shraga. "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Aish HaTorah. Retrieved July 28, 2010. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
  23. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
  24. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
  25. Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.
  26. Jewish belief is based on national revelation. 
  27. Conservative
    Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews".  
    "Missionary Impossible".  
    "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. 
  28. ^ a b "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Ask the Rabbi.  
  29. ^ 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, New York:  
  30. ^ "What is HaDerech (Messianic Judaism)?". FAQ. The Jerusalem Council. February 10, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  31. ^ Drazin, Michael (June 1990). Their Hollow Inheritance: A Comprehensive Refutation of the New Testament and Its Missionaries.  
  32. ^ a b 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, New York: Paulist Press. pp. g. 35.  
  33. ^ Please see references:[23][24][25][26][27]
  34. ^
    • "Jewish Conversion – Giyur". 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-05. We recognize the desire of people from the nations to convert to Judaism, through HaDerech (The Way)(Messianic Judaism), a sect of Judaism. 
    • Robinson, B. (2006). "Messianic Judaism".  
    • "Recent incidents suggest rise in violence between Haredi, messianic Jews". 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
    • Haberman, Clyde (1993-02-11). "Jews Who Call Jesus Messiah: Get Out, Says Israel". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  35. ^ a b c Spector, Stephen (5 November 2008). Evangelicals and Israel. Oxford University Press. p. 116.  
  36. ^ a b Berman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus".  
  37. ^ Schoeman, Roy H. (2003). Salvation is from the Jews: the role of Judaism in salvation history from Abraham to the Second Coming.  
  38. ^ Yeoman, Barry (November 15, 2007). "Evangelical movement on the rise".  
  39. ^ a b McGirk, Tim (June 6, 2008). "Israel's Messianic Jews Under Attack".  
  40. ^ Wagner, Matthew (June 26, 2006). "'"Messianic Jews to protest 'discrimination.  
  41. ^  
  42. ^ Stemberger, Günter (2000). Jews and Christians in the Holy Land: Palestine in the Fourth Century. Continuum. p. 81.  
  43. ^  
  44. ^ Cohn-Sherbok 2001, p. 12.
  45. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (2006). "Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael. Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America 2.  
  46. ^ John James Moscrop. Measuring Jerusalem: the Palestine Exploration Fund and British ... p15 2000 "the perspective of the Holy Land the most important of these societies was the London Jews' Society. Founded in 1809 during the high point of evangelical endeavour, the London Jews' Society was the work of Joseph Samuel Frederick Frey , ..."
  47. ^ Yiddish language & culture then & now "The first Yiddish New Testament distributed by the BFBS was published by the London Jews Society in 1821; the translator was Benjamin Nehemiah Solomon, "a convert from Judaism, who [had come] over to England from Poland."
  48. ^  
  49. ^ Carl Schwartz The Scattered nation 5 p16 1870 "What does the Hebrew-Christian Alliance signify? is asked by well-wishers and opponents. True, its objects have been clearly stated from the ... Let me try briefly to state the nature and objects of the Hebrew-Christian Alliance."
  50. ^ Jewish Journal of Sociology Volumes 9-10 World Jewish Congress 1967 "It was on 9 September 1813 that a group of forty-one Jewish converts to Christianity met in London setting forth ... ... Thus, in 1813, Hebrew Christianity was born in England through the efforts of a group of converts calling themselves the Beni Abraham, or Sons of Abraham. This group was followed by a number of others variously known as the Episcopal Jew's Chapel Abrahamic Society (1835), the Hebrew Christian Union (1865), and the Hebrew Christian Prayer Union (1882)."
  51. ^ William Thomas Gidney The history of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews 1908 "As regards missionary work in London during this period we find that the lectures to the Jews and also to ... The Jews' Chapel, Spitalfields, had to be given up in 1816, as the minister refused his consent to its being licensed as a place of worship of the Church of England. Frey's connexion with the Society ceased in the same year.
  52. ^  
  53. ^ Edward Kessler, Neil Wenborn (2005). A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations. Cambridge University Press. p. 180.
  54. ^ Arnulf Baumann, "Jewish Christians", in Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley (2003). The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 3, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 35.
  55. ^ a b  
  56. ^ Yaakov Shalom Ariel. Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880-2000. University of North Carolina Press. p. 19.
  57. ^ Peter Hocken (2009). The challenges of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Messianic Jewish movements: the tensions of the spirit. Ashgate Publishing, p. 98.
  58. ^ Burgess & Van der Maas 2003, p. 871.
  59. ^ The Missionary review of the world No.35 Royal Gould Wilder, Delavan Leonard Pierson, James Manning Sherwood - 1912 "The letter to Joseph Rabinowitz brought an encouraging answer and also a few copies of the New Testament translated into Hebrew by Franz Delitzsch. They gave Scheinmann the thought to organize a class of young men for their study"
  60. ^ "The Only One in America: A Hebrew-Christian Church Dedicated Yesterday", The New York Times, October 12, 1885. p. 2. Archived at The Online Jewish Missions History Project.
  61. ^ Ariel, Yaakov S. (2000). "Chapter 1: Eschatology and Mission". Evangelizing the chosen people: missions to the Jews in America, 1880–2000 ( 
  62. ^ a b Rausch, David A. (September 1982). "The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement".  
  63. ^  
  64. ^ a b Randall Herbert Balmer (2002). Encyclopedia of evangelicalism. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 127.  
  65. ^ "MINUTES OF THE FIRST Hebrew-Christian Conference OF THE United States". 1903. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  66. ^ "International Ministries". Chosen People Ministries. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  67. ^ Ariel, Yaakov S. (2000). "Chapter 19: Years of Quiet Growth". Evangelizing the chosen people: missions to the Jews in America, 1880–2000 ( 
  68. ^ Dan Cohn-Sherbok (September 2000). Messianic Judaism. Continuum International Publishing Group.  
  69. ^ Peter Hocken The challenges of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Messianic ... 2009 Page 100 "The new thrust that turned Hebrew Christians into Messianic Jews was distinctly charismatic. This reflected the influence of the Jesus movement. However the Evangelical missions to the Jews were and remained non-charismatic."
  70. ^ (2000) p65ContinuumCohen-Sherbok, Dan
  71. ^ Rausch, David A. (September 1982). "The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement".  
  72. ^ a b Rausch, David A. (1982). Messianic Judaism, Its History, Theology, and Polity. Texts and Studies in Religion. V. 14. New York:  
  73. ^ Who We Are, Messianic Israel Alliance website. Accessed September 5, 2010.
  74. ^ "Typical Messianic Statement of Faith". Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. 2007. Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  75. ^ "Everything you need to grow a Messianic Synagogue". p. 19. 
  76. ^
  77. ^ Kinzer, Mark (Summer 2010). "Finding Our Way Through Nicaea: The Deity of Yeshua, Bilateral Ecclesiology, and Redemptive Encounter with the Living God". Kesher: A Journal of Messianic Judaism (24). Retrieved May 29, 2012. Paul likely uses the term Kyrios here as a Greek substitute for both the tetragram- maton and the Hebrew word Adonai (“My lord”), which in Jewish practice acts as its surrogate. In this way he builds upon the most fundamental biblical confession of faith, the Shema, highlighting the two primary divine names (Theos/Elohim and Kyrios/Adonai) and the word “one.” Paul thus expands the Shema to include Yeshua within a differentiated but singular deity. The nicene Creed adopts Paul’s language ("one God, the Father…one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah…"), and thereby affirms its own continuity with the Shema. Paul's short confession is a Yeshua-faith interpretation of the Shema, and the nicene Creed is an expanded interpretation of Paul's confession. 
  78. ^ a b c "What We Believe".  
  79. ^ Kerstetter, Adam Yisroel (2007). "Who Do You Say That I Am? An introduction to the true Messiah from a non-Trinitarian view.". Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010. The material presented below has been researched to great lengths and is based totally on the Scriptures. I have examined both sides of the subject and can assure you that I have no ax to grind, but have found that the information on the Trinity is without any foundation, nor is it supported by the language of the Scripture. Let me state that I believe in our Heavenly Father and in his Son Y’shua (Jesus) and that the Father sent Y’shua to be a way back to Him and a means for our salvation, but I do not believe the Scripture supports the idea of the Moshiach (Messiah) being G-d of very G-d. When wrong ideas of the Mashiach are espoused they put us on the course of misinterpretations and a misconception of who our Mashiach and his Heavenly Father are. These misconceptions and misinterpretations lead us further away from the truth and ultimately further away from the Father who is the only true G-d. 
  80. ^ Nadler, Sam (October 19, 2011). "How Can a Man Become God?".  
  81. ^ "Our Mission and Message". First Fruits of Zion. 2010. p. 14. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  82. ^ "Doctrinal Statement". Lev HaShem Messianic Synagogue. 2004. Retrieved August 17, 2010. We believe that Yeshua HaMashiach is the Jewish Messiah. "Therefore, the L-rd Himself will give you a sign: the virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel (G-d with us)". Yeshayahu 7:14. We believe in His virgin birth conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh. We do not believe that a man can become G-d. "For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us, dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name PELE-YOETZ, EL GIBBOR, AVI-AD SAR SHALOM (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty G-d, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace)" Yeshayahu 9:6–7. "That in honor of HaShem (the Name), Yeshua took the form of humanity and that G-d has given Him the name above every name". Philippians 2:6–11 
  83. ^ See Messiah#Christian view for further elaboration
  84. ^ Berkley, George E. (February 1997). "And Collapse…and Collapse". Jews.  
  85. ^ "Messianic Beliefs". Beit Simcha. 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012. To study the whole and authoritative Word of God, including the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B'rit Chadasha (New Covenant) under the leading of the Holy Spirit 
  86. ^ "Halakah and Messianic Judaism". Standards of Observance.  
  87. ^ "Defining the Old and New Covenant". The Jerusalem Council. February 10, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012. The Torah is the full description of the Messiah, Yeshua ben Yosef mi’Netzaret. Thus by implication, and often by reference, the Torah of G-d (which he gave to Moses) is the Messiah, who is the Word of HaShem. Since the Torah is the Messiah in this sense that he is the Word of HaShem, then it is rightly said that he is also the Covenant G-d makes with all men.…When G-d makes his Covenant with us as sinners, which was made on that day with all who where “there” and “not there” in Deuteronomy 29:14-15, our inclination to sin caused us to break it the moment we sinned (and all have sinned in Adam). So then when G-d renews his Covenant with us (as a new regenerated man alive to the Messiah, the Torah) it is therefore to us, renewed, and to the new man (that is, we who are the righteous in Messiah) it is “new.” Thus that is why it is called a “new” or “renewed” Covenant.…Brit Chadashah = Covenant Renewed 
  88. ^ "Essential Statement of Faith". The Harvest: A Messianic Charismatic Congregation. 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 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. 
  89. ^ a b c Burgess 2006, p. 308.
  90. ^ a b c "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. 
  91. ^ Bernay, Adam J. (December 3, 2007). "Who we are". Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2007-12-20. "Orthodox Messianic" groups (they go by many names) teach that you must keep the commandments in order to be saved, and not just the commandments in the Scripture, but the traditional rules as coined by Judaism since the Temple was destroyed... essentially, they teach that we must keep Orthodox Judaism, but with the addition of Yeshua. We do NOT teach this in any way, shape, or form. Some of the traditions are right and good, and in keeping with the commandments. Others are not. Only by studying to show ourselves approved of God can we rightly divide the word of truth and discover how God calls us to live. 
  92. ^ The Jerusalem Council, a Global Association of Orthodox Jewish Believers, teaches "This is based on the premise that one can not add to nor take away from the Torah, as in Deut 13:1 ... This is also why one’s beliefs about Mashiach can not rest on one’s understanding of the Prophets and Writings alone (or any tradition derived therefrom), apart from the Torah!"
  93. ^ "The phrase sefer torah ("Book of the Law", occurs twenty times in the Tanakh, while there are no references whatsoever to an Oral Torah (torah she-be‘al peh) in the entire Tanakh. As for the supposed hints to the Oral Torah within the Scriptures, all of them can be easily explained. What then will you follow: the sure and certain testimony of the written Word, or the traditions of men, no matter how beautiful those traditions might be? In many cases, the Talmudic interpretation of the Scriptures contradicts the plain sense of the Torah". 
  94. ^ "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".
  95. ^ a b "Mission, Vision, & Purpose of the Jerusalem Council". 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  96. ^ "Authoritative Sources in Halakhic Decision Making". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2007. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. In Jewish tradition as a whole, Scripture is of paramount importance and authority in the development of Halakhah. In principle, issues become "Halakhic" because they are connected to some area of life in which Scripture reveals certain authoritative norms. In addressing those issues, Scripture is not the only resource consulted. However, it is always the source of greatest sanctity. Thus, when Rabbinic literature distinguishes between laws that are  
  97. ^ "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, New Mexico: UMJC, 1997, pp. 51–81. 
  98. ^ Brad H. Young (1997). Paul the Jewish Theologian: A Pharisee among Christians, Jews, and Gentiles. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 1.  
  99. ^ "Acts 23:6 NASB - But perceiving that one group were". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  100. ^ Eisenbaum, Pamela 'Is Paul the Father of Misogyny and Antisemitism?
  101. ^ "Everything you need to grow a Messianic Synagogue". pp. 5–6. 
  102. ^ "Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples' and 'I have appointed thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; and when thou shalt hear a word at My mouth, thou shalt give them warning from Me. ... Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and thou hast delivered thy soul.". 
  103. ^ Nadler, Sam (c. 2009). "Messianic Discipleship". Word of Messiah Ministries. pp. 37–38. 
  104. ^ "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. 
  105. ^ "Who Is A Jew? Messianic Style". Chaia Kravitz. 2007. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. In Messianic Judaism, children are generally regarded as being Jewish with one Jewish parent. Since we are one in Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, there is not sharp division between the two groups. Therefore, if a Gentile has a heart for Israel and God's Torah, as well as being a Believer in Yeshua, and this person marries a Jewish Believer, it is not considered an "intermarriage" in the same way Rabbinic Judaism sees it, since both partners are on the same spiritual plane. Children born from this union are part of God's Chosen, just like the Gentile parent who has been grafted into the vine of Israel through His grace. 
  106. ^ "2.1 Identity". Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  107. ^ "Jewish Status". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  108. ^ a b "What are the Standards of the UMJC?". FAQ.  
  109. ^ "The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into Messianic Jewish Space". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  110. ^ One Law Movements; a Challenge to the Messianic Jewish Community January 28, 2005
  111. ^ One Law Movements A Response to Russ Resnik & Daniel Juster
  112. ^ MJAA position paper:The Ephraimite Error
  113. ^ "Supersessionism". Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  114. ^ Koziar, Pete. "Winds of Doctrine: Replacement Theology". Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  115. ^ "Holiday Chart". 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  116. ^ "Statement of Faith". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  117. ^ Matthew 5:17–19, Matthew 28:19–20, 1 John 3:4, Romans 3:3
  118. ^ a b Worshill, Ric (2008). "Why Messianic Jews Use Liturgy During Their Worship Services". Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  119. ^ Worshill, Ric (2008). "Why Messianic Jews Use Liturgy During Their Worship Services". Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. Retrieved May 14, 2012. The purpose and reasons are obvious. There are three functions in the good work we do in Mashiach. When it is not about bringing others to Yeshua we should forget about it. If it is not about our gaining more of Yeshua in our lives, we must forget about it. If it is not about Yeshua we better forget about it. It is about Him, and service to Him. He is the giver of Salvation. We can do nothing except choose Life in Yeshua and yet He chose us first (John 15:6-17). 
  120. ^ Feher, Shoshanah. Passing over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, Rowman Altamira, 1998, ISBN 978-0-7619-8953-0, p. 20 The Messianic movement has eliminated the elements of Christian worship that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots. Communion is therefore associated with Passover, since the Eucharist originated during Ushua’s Last Supper, held at Passover. In this way, Passover is given a new, Yshua-centered meaning.
  121. ^ "Holidays". Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  122. ^ a b Reinckens, Rick (2002). "Frequently Asked Questions". MessianicJews. Info. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  123. ^ "Kashrut". Archived from the original on January 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  124. ^ "For those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi.". Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  125. ^ Carol Harris-Shapiro Messianic Judaism: a rabbi's journey through religious change in 1999 "However, not all Messianic believers are Jews. Nothing is as problematic as the large numbers of Messianic Gentiles in the movement. To claim Jewish identity when one is not Jewish oneself adds another layer of struggle: "We are Jews!"
  126. ^ Brown Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus p12 2000
  127. ^ "Competing Trends In Messianic Judaism: The Debate Over Evangelicalism | Issue 18". Kesher Journal. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  128. ^ Dan Cohn-Sherbok Messianic Judaism 2000 p161 "For Gentile Christians, baptism is perceived as a means of entering into the body of Christ. Within Messianic Judaism, however, immersion is understood as a religious act symbolizing the believer's commitment to Yeshua: the faithful are "
  129. ^ "Jewish Conversion Process". February 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010. The process of Jewish Conversion is: 1. Repent by keeping the Covenant (Return to the Torah, get circumcised if male, and commit to the Torah).…2. Believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and that he is coming as the King (Obey everything He commands, which is the Torah).…3. Be immersed in the name of Yeshua, witnessed by others (Go through a mikveh in his name). 
  130. ^ "The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into Messianic Jewish Space". 2008. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  131. ^| author=Ariel, Yaakov |title=The unique Culture of Messianic in "Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America” |publisher= Harcourt Education,Greenwood Publishing Group| date=Oct 1, 2006)| ISBN=978-0-313-05078-7 |page=200
  132. ^ Shapiro Messianic Judaism: a rabbi's journey through religious change in America. p106
  133. ^ Ariel, Yaakov (Oct 1, 2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. Harcourt Education, Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 208.  
  134. ^ "Joel Chernoff".  
  135. ^ "Ted Pearce Official site". 
  136. ^ The Feast of Tabernacles CD. 
  137. ^ "Kadosh". Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  138. ^ The Watchman CD. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  139. ^ Peter J. Tomson, Doris Lambers-Petry The image of the Judaeo-Christians in ancient Jewish and Christian ... 2003 p292 "From outside the movement hostile criticism of Messianic Judaism was voiced by such bodies as the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews. At their annual conference from 16 to 19 October 1975 a resolution was passed condemning "
  140. ^ A dictionary of Jewish-Christian relations - Page 97 Dr. Edward Kessler, Neil Wenborn - 2005 "Messianic Jews in Israel who accept Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as the Messiah are supported, when they meet with hostility, by CMJ/ITAC. In the 1980s CMJ gave some support to evangelistic campaigns by Jews for Jesus,"
  141. ^ Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 183.
  142. ^ Dabru Emet - Some Reservations about a Jewish Statement on Christians and ChristianityRabbi David Berger,
  143. ^  
  144. ^  
  145. ^ Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 182.
  146. ^  
  147. ^
    • Ariel, Yaakov (2005) [1995]. "Protestant Attitudes to Jews and Judaism During the Last Fifty Years". In  
    • Simmons, Shraga. "Messianic Jews, Buddhist Jews". Ask Rabbi Simmons.  
    • Schoen, Robert (April 2004). "Jews, Jesus, and Christianity". What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism.  
    • "Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement". Messiah Truth Project. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
    • Ariel, David S. (1995). "The Messiah". What do Jews believe?: The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism. New York, New York:  
  148. ^ Harris-Shapiro 1998, p. 177.
  149. ^ Cohn-Sherbok 2000, p. 211.
  150. ^ "One of the more alarming trends in  
  151. ^  
  152. ^ Yonke, David (February 11, 2006). "Rabbi says Messianic Jews are Christians in disguise".  
  153. ^ a b Myers, Calev (April 16, 2008). "Justice in Israel".  
  154. ^ "Israeli Court Rules Jews for Jesus Cannot Automatically Be Citizens".  
  155. ^ Izenberg, Dan (April 22, 2008). "Court applies Law of Return to Messianic Jews because of fathers".  
  156. ^ "Messianic Jews Claim Victory in Israeli Court". April 18, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2012. The Supreme Court of Israel ruled Wednesday that being a Messianic Jew cannot prevent Israeli citizenship if the Jewish descent is from the person's father's side. 
  157. ^ "2008 Report on International Religious Freedom – Israel and the occupied territories". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US Government. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  158. ^ Wagner, Matthew. "US report: Rise in violence against Messianic Jews and Christians". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 2010. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  159. ^ Chris Mitchell. "Suspect Arrest Announced in Ami Ortiz Case - Inside Israel - CBN News - Christian News 24-7". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  160. ^ Azulai, Yuval (October 3, 2009). "איך נלחם ארגון "יד לאחים" ביהודים המשיחיים? רמז: כל האמצעים כשרים" [How does the Yad L'Achim organization battle Messianic Jews? Hint: Anything goes].  
  161. ^ "US Navy Tells Messianic Jewish Chaplain He Must Wear Cross". The Yeshiva World News. December 23, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  162. ^ Tokajer, Eric (December 29, 2008). "Messianic Jew Barred from Serving as Jewish Chaplain by US Navy.".  
  163. ^ - Birmingham police employee's religious discrimination case settled
  164. ^ "The Association of Messianic Congregations (AMC) homepage". Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  165. ^ "UMJC homepage". Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  166. ^ "Chosen People Ministries". Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  167. ^ "Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations (CTOMC) homepage". 
  168. ^ "Union of Conservative Messianic Synagogues (UCMJS)". 
  169. ^ "The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS) homepage". 
  170. ^ "HaYesod homepage". 
  171. ^ "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. 
  172. ^ "Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council Standards of Observance". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 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. 
  173. ^
    • "what we do". Retrieved 2010-07-21. [O]ur regular missionary work-street witnessing-by sending our own staff and plenty of volunteers on sorties (tract passing expeditions) four times a day for two hours at a time.…As some come to faith, we continue studying with them, providing discipleship lessons until the new Jewish believers are well grounded in a local congregation. 


See also

Organizations sympathetic to Messianic Judaism which remain outside the mainstream Messianic movement:

Affiliated organizations

  • The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA).[159]
  • Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC).[160]
  • Chosen People Ministries (CPM).[161]
  • Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations (CTOMC).[162]
  • Union of Nazarene Yisraelite Congregations (UONYC).
  • Union of Conservative Messianic Synagogues (UCMJS).[163]
  • The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).[164]
  • HaYesod ("the foundation") is a discipleship course that respectfully explores the Jewish foundation of Christianity. There are currently 259 HaYesod study groups of 5 or more members.[165]
  • The Jerusalem Council, an organization seeking to become a ruling council for Messianic believers worldwide.[166] It is in the process of publishing a set of Messianic halakha that the "majority of orthodox Messianic Jews accept".[90]
  • The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, many of whose members are affiliated with the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, has published its standards of Messianic Torah observance.[167]

Messianic organizations

A Birmingham, Alabama's police employee's religious discrimination case was settled in her favor. She filed suit over having to work on Jewish Sabbath.[158]

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, a website covering stories of Jewish interest, 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.[156] Rabbi Eric Tokajer, a spokesman for the Messianic Jewish movement, responded that "This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system."[157]

Response of US governments

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.[155] 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.[34]

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.[152] 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.[153] The bombing was eventually traced to Yaakov "Jack" Teitel, a serial killer who immigrated to Israel from the United States, and who was found to be responsible for several bombings, murders and attempted murders in Israel.[154]

Messianic Jews are considered eligible for the State of Israel's Law of Return only if they can also claim Jewish descent.[31] 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 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.[148] The state of Israel grants Aliyah (right of return) and citizenship to Jews, and to those with Jewish parents or grandparents who are not considered Jews according to halakha, e.g. people who have a Jewish father but a non-Jewish mother. The old law had excluded any “person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion,” and an Israeli Supreme Court decision in 1989 had ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion.[149] 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.[148][150][151]

Response of Israeli government

Outreach Judaism,[146] noted of a Messianic rabbi in Toledo: "He’s not running a Jewish synagogue ... It’s a church designed to appear as if it were a synagogue and I’m there to expose him. What these irresponsible extremist Christians do is a form of consumer fraud. They blur the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity in order to lure Jewish people who would otherwise resist a straightforward message."[147]

"To embrace the radiocative 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."[143][144]
observed: Carol Harris-Shapiro Rabbi Reconstructionist Regarding this divide, [142][24][22] All denominations of Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations, reject Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism.[27] and thus the term is misleading.[141] They state that while Judaism is a messianic religion, its messiah is not Jesus,[140]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.

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.[136] 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,[137] though there is a minority view that it constitutes shituf (literally, "partnership"), an association of other individuals with the God of Israel. While shituf is, according to some opinions, permitted for gentiles, it is considered idolatrous for Jews.[23][138] 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.[103][139]

Reception among Jews

In Israel, the linguistic distinction between Messianic Jews and mainstream Christians is less clear, and the name "Messianic" (Meshiyhiy משיחי) is commonly used by churches anyway, in lieu of Notsri (Hebrew: נוצרי), the secular government administrative term for "Christian". The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church, based at ecumenical in outlook and operates an interfaith school in Jerusalem, gives some social support to Messianic Jews in Israel.[135]

In the United States, the emergence of the Messianic Jewish movement created some stresses with other Jewish-Christian and missionary organization. In 1975, the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews condemned several aspects of the Messianic Jewish movement.[134]

Reception among mainstream Christianity

Reception of the movement

The movement also has several recording artists who consider their music to be Messianic in message, such as Joel Chernoff of the duo Lamb,[129] Paul Wilbur, Marty Goetz, Ted Pearce[130] and Chuck King.[131] Many of these artists have been influenced by Jewish music and often incorporate Hebrew phrases into their lyrics.[132][133]

Messianic Jewish hymnologies are not merely Christian evangelical ones. Many of the hymns relate to Israel’s role in history, convey a messianic hope, and refer to Jesus as the Savior of Israel. In addition, small changes differentiate them from the usual contemporary evangelical hymns, such as the use of the name Yeshua instead of Jesus. Messianic hymnals also include a large number of Israeli songs.[128]



The movement generally avoids common Christian terms, such as Christ and cross (tsalav—צלב), and prefers to maximise the use of Hebrew terms.[126][127] Messianic Jews take a similar approach as the Sacred Name Movement for the name "Yeshua".

Use of Hebrew names and vocabulary in English

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.[20][124][125]


Messianic Jews practice baptism, calling it a mikveh ("cistern", from Leviticus 11) rather than the term hattvila ("baptism" הטבילה in the Hebrew New Testament).[123]


Large numbers of those calling themselves Messianic Jews are not of Jewish descent,[120] but join the movement anyway as they "enjoy the Messianic Jewish style of worship".[121] The MJAA views conversion for Gentiles an unbiblical practice, but accepts gentiles into their congregations,[122] and other Messianic organizations hold to similar views.

Messianic perspectives on "Who is a Jew" vary. The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, (West Haven, Connecticut, 2006) a global Messianic body, 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.[119]

Conversion to Messianic Judaism

The observance of the kashrut dietary laws is a subject of continued debate among Messianic Jews.[117][118] Some Messianic believers keep kosher purely for the purposes of evangelism to Jewish people.[117] Most avoid pork and shellfish, but there is disagreement on more strict adherence to kosher dietary laws.

Dietary laws

The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council recommends the observance of Jewish holidays.[116] 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.[84]

Some Messianic Jews observe Shabbat on Saturdays.[30] Worship services are generally held on Friday evenings (Erev Shabbat) or Saturday mornings.[84] 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".[113] 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.[113] According to the SBMF, the main purpose in using a liturgy similar to a Jewish siddur is to bring others to Jesus.[114] Other branches of the movement have attempted to "eliminate the elements of Christian worship [such as frequent communion] that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots".[115] Almost all such congregations in Israel observe Jewish holidays, which they understand to have their fulfillment in Jesus."[30]

Sabbath and holiday observances

Religious practices

There is a variety of practice within Messianic Judaism regarding the strictness of Torah observance. Generally, "Torah observant" congregations observe Jewish Law, biblical feasts, and Sabbath.[111] While most traditional Christians deny that the ritual laws and specific civil laws of the Pentateuch apply to gentiles, certain passages[112] regarding Torah observance in the New Testament are cited by Messianic believers as proof that Torah was not abolished for Jews. They point out that in Acts 21 Jewish believers in Jerusalem are described as "zealous for the Law", and that Paul himself never stopped being observant.

Torah observance

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 Yom Teruah, 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.[110]

Some Messianic Jews hold to certain eschatological beliefs concerning events 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 the Millennial Sabbath.


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.[108] 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,[109] and instead believing that although Israel has rejected Jesus, it has not forfeited its status as God's chosen people (Matthew 5:17). Often cited is Romans 11:29: "for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable". The core of supersessionism, in which the Mosaic Covenant is canceled, is less agreed upon. Though the mitzvot may or may not be seen as necessary, most are still followed, especially the keeping of Shabbat and other holy days. Some followers of the movement believe that Jews can still find favor with God through the Torah without accepting Jesus, as did Moses, David, and the Prophets.


Proponents of Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations have explicitly opposed the Two House teaching[107] and it continues to be a sensitive issue among Messianic congregations.

Two House 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 the One Law movement's insistence on Gentiles being required to observe the entirety of Torah in the same way as Jews.[105] Tim Hegg responded to their article defending what he believes to be the biblical teaching of "One Law" theology and its implications concerning the obligations of Torah obedience by new Messianic believers from the nations.[106]

One Law theology

Messianic believers from other nations are also considered to be 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,[104] 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.

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. As in Reform Judaism, those who have Jewish fathers but gentile mothers are considered Jewish only if the individual claims Jewish identity. The statement of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council on Jewish identity[102] is often disputed among Messianic believers who either don't find it necessary or discourage halakhic conversion, in accordance with their interpretation of Romans 2:29 (that a "Jew" is not one who is one "outwardly" but is one who is a Jew in his heart). They also believe that salvation is received by accepting Jesus into one's heart and confessing that he is Lord.[103]

According to the Messianic group 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." [101]

There exist among Messianic believers a number of perspectives regarding who exactly makes up God's chosen people. Most commonly, Israel is seen as distinct from the church; Messianic Jews, being a part of both Israel and the church, are seen as the necessary link between the 'gentile' People of God and the commonwealth of God's people of Israel. The two-house view, and the one law/grafted-in view are held by many identifying as Messianic, although some Messianic groups do not espouse these theologies.[100]

Messianic Jews believe God's people have a responsibility to spread his name and fame to all nations (Psalms 96:3, Ezekiel 3:18–19)[97][98] 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.[99]

Evangelism and attitudes toward Jews and Israel

Messianic believers define sin as transgression of the Torah (Law/Instruction) of God (1 John 3: 4–5). Messianics hold to a belief that all sin (whether committed yet or not) is already atoned for because of Jesus's death and resurrection.[96]

Sin and atonement

Messianic believers 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, 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.[95]

Messianic Jews understand (as suggested by some recent scholars[93]) 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."[94]

Attitudes toward Paul

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 noted New Testament commentary authors include: Joseph Shulam, who has written commentaries on Acts, Romans, and Galatians; Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries, who has written commentaries on the Epistles, Judges & Ruth, and Genesis, and 7 systematic doctrinal studies; 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 surveys of both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Scriptures).

Messianic publications

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 are 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. 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.

Messianic Bible translations

There is no unanimity among Messianic congregations on the issue of the Talmud and the Oral Torah. Most Messianic congregations and synagogues can be said to believe that the oral traditions are subservient to the Written Torah, and where there is a perceived conflict between the Torah and the Talmud, the plain interpretation of the Written Torah take precedence.[87] Some congregations believe that adherence to the Oral Law, as encompassed by the Talmud, is against Messianic beliefs, since the Talmud was not written until after the whole of the biblical canon (begun 70 CE, completed approx 500 CE).[88] Other congregations are selective in their applications of Talmudic law.[89][90][91] Still others encourage a serious observance of Jewish halakha.[92]

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 New Testament.[84] Other Messianic believers call rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud "dangerous",[85] stating that followers of rabbinic and halakhic explanations and commentaries are not believers in Jesus as the Messiah.[85][86] Furthermore, many Messianic believers deny the authority of the Pharisees, believing that they were superseded, and their teachings contradicted, by Messianism.[85]

Jewish oral tradition

Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament (sometimes called the "Brit Chadasha", from the Hebrew for "new covenant") are usually considered to be the established and divinely inspired Biblical scriptures by Messianic Jews.[80][81] 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.[82] Jesus did not annul the Torah, but its interpretation is revised through the Apostolic scriptures.[83]

The Bible

Scriptures and writings

The place of Jesus in Messianic Judaism is usually clearly defined. His Jewishness and that of all the original disciples is affirmed. Messianic Judaism asserts that Jesus is the Yeshua.[79]


  1. God the Father—Messianic Jews believe in God and that he is all-powerful, omnipresent, eternally existent outside of creation, and infinitely significant and benevolent. Some Messianic Jews affirm both the Shema and the Trinity, by understanding that the phrase "the Lord is One" to be referring to "a differentiated but singular deity",[72] and "eternally existent in plural oneness".[73] Some Messianic believers profess only a strict view of monotheism, rejecting Trinitarian doctrine, but this is not common.[19][74]
  2. God the Son—Most Messianic Jews, in line with mainstream Christian theology, consider Jesus to be the Messiah and divine as God the Son.[16][73] This belief is supported through links between Hebrew Bible prophecies and what Messianic Jews, together with most mainstream Christians, perceive as the prophecies' fulfillment in the New Testament.[75] Many also consider Jesus to be their "chief teacher and rabbi" whose life should be copied.[76] Many English-speaking Messianic Jews prefer to refer to Jesus by the Hebrew name "Yeshua", or Yehoshua, rather than by the English name "Jesus". Certain congregations outside mainstream Messianic Jewish belief do not ascribe divinity to Jesus, with some considering him a man, fathered by the Holy Spirit, who became the Messiah.[19][77]
  3. God the Holy Spirit—According to some Messianic Jews, the Spirit is introduced in the Old Testament as co-creator (Genesis 1:2), is the inspirer of prophets (II Sam. 23:1–3), and is the spirit of Truth described in the New Testament (John 14:17, 26).[73] According to the teachings of Messianic Judaism, in the earthly life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was the dove at baptism (Matt 3:16) and the giver of tongues in Acts 2.

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:[16][70][71]

The Trinity

God and Jesus

As with many religious faiths, the exact tenets held vary from congregation to congregation. In general, essential doctrines of Messianic Judaism include views on God (that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, outside creation, infinitely significant and benevolent—viewpoints on the Trinity vary), Jesus (who is believed to be the Jewish Messiah, though views on his divinity vary), written Torah (with a few exceptions, Messianic Jews 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 Messianic Judaism is more open to criticism of the New Testament canon than is Christianity), eschatology (sometimes similar to many evangelical Christian views), and oral law (see also Christian Oral Tradition—observance varies, but most deem these traditions subservient to the written Torah). Certain additional doctrines, including those on sin and atonement and on faith and works, are more open to differences in interpretation.[69]

Theology and core doctrines

[68] In the 1970s, a growing number of young Jews who had converted to Christianity were committed to maintaining a culturally Jewish lifestyle, in the mode advocated by Rabinowitz in the 19th century. Going against the thinking of the older members of the Hebrew Christian movement, they believed that different methods of evangelism of Jews were needed. They looked to and adopted some of the evangelizing techniques of [9] Messianic Judaism itself arose in the 1960s and 70s.

The Messianic Judaism movement, 1970s

Missions to the Jews saw a period of growth between the 1920s and the 1960s.[3][62] In the 1940s and 50s, missionaries in Israel, including the Southern Baptists, adopted the term meshichyim (משיחיים "Messianics") to counter negative connotations of the word notsrim (נוצרים "Christians", from "Nazarenes"); the term was used to designate all Jews who had converted to Protestant evangelical Christianity.[11]

In the United States, a congregation of Jewish converts to Christianity was established in New York City in 1885.[55] In the 1890s, immigrant Jewish converts to Christianity worshiped at the Chosen People Ministries[59] and has operations and staff in the US and 11 other nations.[61]

In Eastern Europe, Joseph Rabinowitz established a Hebrew Christian mission and congregation called "Israelites of the New Covenant" in Kishinev, Ukraine in 1884.[48][49][50][51][52][53] Rabinowitz was supported from overseas by the Christian Hebraist Franz Delitzsch, translator of the first modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament.[54] 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.[50]

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,[45] though the non-Anglican minister of the chapel at Spitalfields evicted Frey and his congregation only three years later, and Frey severed his connections with the Society.[46] A new location was found and the Episcopal Jew's Chapel Abrahamic Society registered in 1835.[47]

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.[40] Early formal organizations run by converted Jews include: the Anglican London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews of Joseph Frey (1809),[41] which published the first Yiddish New Testament in 1821;[42] 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;[43] and the London Hebrew Christian Alliance of Great Britain founded by Dr. Carl Schwartz in 1866.[44]

19th and early 20th centuries

In the 15th and 16th century, Jewish Christians occupying professorships at the European universities began to provide translations of Hebrew texts. Scholars such as Paul Nuñez Coronel, Alfonso de Zamora, Alfonso de Alcalá, Domenico Gerosolimitano and Giovanni Battista Jona were actively engaged in spreading Jewish scholarship.[39]

[38] Efforts by

Pre-19th century



  • History 1
    • Pre-19th century 1.1
    • 19th and early 20th centuries 1.2
    • The Messianic Judaism movement, 1970s 1.3
  • Theology and core doctrines 2
    • God and Jesus 2.1
      • The Trinity 2.1.1
      • Jesus 2.1.2
    • Scriptures and writings 2.2
      • The Bible 2.2.1
      • Jewish oral tradition 2.2.2
      • Messianic Bible translations 2.2.3
      • Messianic publications 2.2.4
      • Attitudes toward Paul 2.2.5
    • Sin and atonement 2.3
    • Evangelism and attitudes toward Jews and Israel 2.4
      • One Law theology 2.4.1
      • Two House theology 2.4.2
      • Supersessionism 2.4.3
    • Eschatology 2.5
    • Torah observance 2.6
  • Religious practices 3
    • Sabbath and holiday observances 3.1
    • Dietary laws 3.2
    • Conversion to Messianic Judaism 3.3
      • Baptism 3.3.1
      • Circumcision 3.3.2
    • Use of Hebrew names and vocabulary in English 3.4
  • Culture 4
    • Music 4.1
  • Reception of the movement 5
    • Reception among mainstream Christianity 5.1
    • Reception among Jews 5.2
    • Response of Israeli government 5.3
    • Response of US governments 5.4
  • Messianic organizations 6
    • Affiliated organizations 6.1
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • Sources 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

[35] and 250,000 in the United States.[34] In 2008, the movement was reported to have between 6,000 and 15,000 members in Israel[33][32]

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