After Adam and Eve sinned, G-d promised that one day He would send someone who would put mankind back in a proper relationship with G-d. (Genesis 3:15) That person is referred to in the Hebrew Bible as the "Messiah", which means "a person who has been specially chosen and empowered".
Over time, G-d revealed more about this "Specially Chosen and Empowered One". In fact, the Messiah's life, death and return from death were foretold by G-d's prophets.
While he was in captivity in Babylon, the prophet Daniel asked G-d what the future would be for the Jewish people. Through the angel Gabriel, G-d told him. In Daniel 9:25-26 G-d said that Messiah would come before the destruction of the rebuilt (Second) Temple.
Daniel 7:13-14 indicates that in heaven the Ancient of Days (G-d) gave authority, rule and an eternal kingdom to someone "like a son of man" and that this person would be worshiped by people from all over the earth.
In fact, through the prophet Isaiah, G-d revealed that this Messiah would be G-d in flesh, that G-d would come in human form.
|ISAIAH 9:5 (6)|
|For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And dominion shall rest on his shoulder. And his name is called Wonderful Counselor, God Almighty, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.|
Simply put, Messianic Jews are Jews who take the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at His word. Jews who believe that Messiah came when, where and how G-d said he would. Jews who believe that Messiah did what G-d said he would do: come to earth, live among humans and teach us G-d's ways, die as a kippurah (atonement) for men's sins (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), and then come back from the dead. Before the destruction of the Second Temple, in 70 C.E.
From shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple until Israel's recapture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967, a Jew who wanted to follow Messiah had no realistic choice but to abandon his Jewish heritage, assimilate, and become Protestant or Catholic.
But G-d is doing a new thing. Or rather, a renewed thing. Originally, all of Messiah's followers were practicing Jews. Not Jews who stopped practicing Judaism, Jews who continued practicing Judaism after accepting Messiah.
Like Messiah's first followers, since 1967 some Jews who learn the truth of Messiah continue to practice Judaism. Judaism that accepts that Messiah has come.
Messianic Judaism is also called Nazarene Judaism because Messiah lived in Nazareth.
No. Many Messianic congregations choose to affiliate themselves with certain Messianic organizations such as the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. However, unlike the Church of England, Methodism, and many other Protestant denominations, Messianic congregations are independent.
There are some significant differences between Messianic theology and mainstream Christian theology. The details and reasons are somewhat complex and beyond the scope of this site. For an extremely well-researched and well-written explanation, see:
www.YashaNet.com/library/law_1.htm (law, underscore, number one)
(Practices vary among congregations.)
Not everyone who considers himself a "Messianic Jew" is. More
Do Messianic Jews keep kosher (kashrut)?
This is a subject of continuing debate in Messianic Judaism. Messianic Gentiles generally say that G-d cancelled the kosher food laws in the Book of Acts (Chapter 10) when--three times in a row--He commanded Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) to eat "unclean" animals. Messianic Jews generally say that the passage is talking about fellowshipping with gentiles, not food.
Why do Messianics observe the Sabbath when First-Century Jewish followers of Yeshua/Jesus worshiped on Sunday?
Sadly, this is a historical misrepresentation. Despite what many "experts" claim, early Jewish believers did not change the day of worship. The day of worship was changed by Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E.
Although many publications claim Constantine was a Christian, the fact is that he worshiped "Sol Invictus", the Invincible Sun (in the sky). He made gentilized Christianity the Roman state religion solely to strengthen his political power base. To broaden its appeal he brought in many pagan customs.
However, this is not generally known in the modern gentile Church. Searching for Bible support, Christians base the claim that early Jewish believers worshiped on Sunday on two passages:
That isn't talking about the day of worship, it is just financial advice -- put money away before you spend it.
Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
This is a common Jewish custom called "chaverah", i.e., "fellowship". It starts Saturday night, after the sabbath is finished. Jewish days start at sundown, so the "first day of the week" runs from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown.
But let us assume -- "for the sake of argument" -- that it was not a chaverah. The Bible states specifically that it was not normal circumstances -- Paul intended to leave the next day. The passage does not say they customarily met on the first day, only that they met to dine together.
In fact, the Bible does not say what was discussed. It could have been a simple planning meeting, or even just friends "catching up".
It is true that many gentile believers worshiped on Sunday, but Jewish believers generally did not change.
Does Messianic Judaism celebrate Christmas, Easter and Lent, use Christmas trees, etc. ?
No. Messianic Judaism does not celebrate holidays created by the gentile Church centuries after Yeshua came. Messianic Judaism celebrates the biblical feasts ordained by G-d in the Tanakh or by Yeshua in the B'rit Chadasha.
However, to maintain family harmony, individual Messianics with Protestant or Catholic family members sometimes participate in traditional "Church" holidays.
Do Messianic Jews use Christian symbols such as crosses?
Messianic Judaism uses traditional Jewish symbols, not gentile Christian symbols.
However, practice varies among individual Messianic Jews. Although most Messianics regularly use Jewish symbols, some will also use Christian symbols.
©2002 by Rick Reinckens