Difference between revisions of "Messianic Judaism"

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They differ from other Jews over their beliefs about the Messiah. Messianic Congregations are made up of people of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, and are distinctly Jewish in [[culture]]. All celebrate Jewish [[Holy Days]] and support the State of [[Israel]], and most have their main service on the seventh day [[Sabbath]]. They believe that all of the [[Bible]], both the Tanakh and the [[New Testament]], is inspired by [[God]], and that the New Testament was written by Jewish writers to announce to the world the arrival of the long awaited Jewish Messiah.
 
They differ from other Jews over their beliefs about the Messiah. Messianic Congregations are made up of people of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, and are distinctly Jewish in [[culture]]. All celebrate Jewish [[Holy Days]] and support the State of [[Israel]], and most have their main service on the seventh day [[Sabbath]]. They believe that all of the [[Bible]], both the Tanakh and the [[New Testament]], is inspired by [[God]], and that the New Testament was written by Jewish writers to announce to the world the arrival of the long awaited Jewish Messiah.
  
Virtually all other Jewish [[denomination]]s reject Messianic Judaism on the principle that belief in Yeshua automatically makes them Christian, and therefore outside of the Jewish community. Many view Messianic Judaism as a dangerous and subversive form of [[apostate|apostacy]]. However, Reform [[rabbi]] Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor of Jewish Theology at the University of Wales, has pointed out that the Jewish community, and Judaism itself, no longer holds to a single authority to determine correct belief and practice, and as such Messianic Judaism is as valid a form of Judaism as any other.<ref>Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. "Messianic Judaism" (Continuum International, 2000)</ref> David M. Hargis stated: ''"Since the first Jewish followers of Yeshua never left the faith of the God of Israel, [[YHWH]], but rather came into a more personal covenant with Him through trust in Messiah Yeshua, their faith was and is the only complete Biblical Judaism and thus a superior Judaism."''<ref>Hargis, David M. [http://www.messianic.com/articles/basics.htm ''Basics of Messianic Judaism''] Messianic Bureau International. Accessed 21 February 2008</ref>
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Virtually all other Jewish [[denomination]]s reject Messianic Judaism on the principle that belief in Yeshua automatically makes them Christian, and therefore outside of the Jewish community. Many view Messianic Judaism as a dangerous and subversive form of [[apostasy]]. However, Reform [[rabbi]] Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor of Jewish Theology at the University of Wales, has pointed out that the Jewish community, and Judaism itself, no longer holds to a single authority to determine correct belief and practice, and as such Messianic Judaism is as valid a form of Judaism as any other.<ref>Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. "Messianic Judaism" (Continuum International, 2000)</ref> David M. Hargis stated: ''"Since the first Jewish followers of Yeshua never left the faith of the God of Israel, [[YHWH]], but rather came into a more personal covenant with Him through trust in Messiah Yeshua, their faith was and is the only complete Biblical Judaism and thus a superior Judaism."''<ref>Hargis, David M. [http://www.messianic.com/articles/basics.htm ''Basics of Messianic Judaism''] Messianic Bureau International. Accessed 21 February 2008</ref>
  
 
==Early history of Messianic Judaism==
 
==Early history of Messianic Judaism==
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The Israeli Supreme Court decreed on 25 December 1989 that Messianic Jews were not eligible to immigrate to Israel under the [[Law of Return]]. Because of their belief in Yeshua, they are viewed as belonging to another religion. In contrast Jews who are [[atheists]] and [[humanist]]s can return.<ref>Robinson, B. [http://www.religioustolerance.org/mess_jud4.htm ''Opposition to Messianic Judaism''] Religious Tolerance. Accessed 21 February 2008</ref> In 2008, the Israeli Minister of Interior began moves to revoke the citizenship of Messianic Jewish believers who immigrated into Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. Many well known Israeli Messianic leaders received notices from the Ministry of Interior that their citizenship is under review for this procedure. <ref>Decker, Michael [http://www.mjaa.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5417 ''Jerusalem Institute of Justice News''] Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. Accessed 22 February 2008</ref>
 
The Israeli Supreme Court decreed on 25 December 1989 that Messianic Jews were not eligible to immigrate to Israel under the [[Law of Return]]. Because of their belief in Yeshua, they are viewed as belonging to another religion. In contrast Jews who are [[atheists]] and [[humanist]]s can return.<ref>Robinson, B. [http://www.religioustolerance.org/mess_jud4.htm ''Opposition to Messianic Judaism''] Religious Tolerance. Accessed 21 February 2008</ref> In 2008, the Israeli Minister of Interior began moves to revoke the citizenship of Messianic Jewish believers who immigrated into Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. Many well known Israeli Messianic leaders received notices from the Ministry of Interior that their citizenship is under review for this procedure. <ref>Decker, Michael [http://www.mjaa.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5417 ''Jerusalem Institute of Justice News''] Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. Accessed 22 February 2008</ref>
  
== See also ==
+
==See also==
 
+
 
*[[Philosophy]]
 
*[[Philosophy]]
 
*[[Jewish philosophy]]
 
*[[Jewish philosophy]]

Revision as of 20:41, 14 October 2008

The olive tree has long been used as a symbol in Messianic Judaism: "Thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them" (Romans 11:17)

Messianic Judaism is a religious movement which:[1][2]

They differ from other Jews over their beliefs about the Messiah. Messianic Congregations are made up of people of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, and are distinctly Jewish in culture. All celebrate Jewish Holy Days and support the State of Israel, and most have their main service on the seventh day Sabbath. They believe that all of the Bible, both the Tanakh and the New Testament, is inspired by God, and that the New Testament was written by Jewish writers to announce to the world the arrival of the long awaited Jewish Messiah.

Virtually all other Jewish denominations reject Messianic Judaism on the principle that belief in Yeshua automatically makes them Christian, and therefore outside of the Jewish community. Many view Messianic Judaism as a dangerous and subversive form of apostasy. However, Reform rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor of Jewish Theology at the University of Wales, has pointed out that the Jewish community, and Judaism itself, no longer holds to a single authority to determine correct belief and practice, and as such Messianic Judaism is as valid a form of Judaism as any other.[3] David M. Hargis stated: "Since the first Jewish followers of Yeshua never left the faith of the God of Israel, YHWH, but rather came into a more personal covenant with Him through trust in Messiah Yeshua, their faith was and is the only complete Biblical Judaism and thus a superior Judaism."[4]

Early history of Messianic Judaism

Many people wrongly assume that Messianic Judaism originated from Christianity, or that it is a hybrid religion formed comparatively recently by combining Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices. However, Messianic Judaism predates Christianity by several decades, and Christianity evolved from the Messianic Judaism of the first century. Yeshua and his disciples (talmidim) were all Jews, and did not convert to another religion; furthermore, as the Bible clearly states He came to earth to be the prophesied Messiah of Judaism, not to form a new religion.

The first people to be known as Christians were the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:20,21,26) but Christianity was still widely considered to be a sect of Judaism. In 70 AD, the Roman general Titus sacked the city of Jerusalem and the Second Temple was burned down. It is estimated that as many as one million Jews died during the revolt.[5] Many Jews were taken captive and deported to Italy where they were forced to build the Colosseum in Rome. The emperor Vespasian then introduced a tax (the "Fiscus Judaicus") to be paid by all Jews to finance the reconstruction of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Even after construction was completed, the tax was still levied, and was used as a measure to deter people from converting to Judaism.[6] Well into the second century, Gentile Christians were also required to pay the fiscus judaicus and persecuted as a sect of Judaism. To escape this persecution, Gentile Christians sought to widen the division between themselves and the Jews, and their practices became less and less Jewish.

The wild olive branch

The church in Rome was begun as a Jewish fellowship, started by those who returned from Pentecost in Jerusalem,[7] not by an apostle. As these Jewish believers evangelized, many Gentile believers joined them. Around 50 AD Claudius banished many Jews from Rome,[8] leaving the church entirely Gentile. Twelve years later Nero invited the Jews back to stimulate trade. However the Gentiles refused to allow the Messianic Jewish believers back into the church, having concluded that Claudius' rejection signified God's rejection, which is probably the first appearance of Replacement Theology.[9]

Paul's letter to the Roman church addresses this matter, and he urges them to remember that they are like a "wild olive tree, grafted in" among the Jews, and warns them against "conceit", particularly as it is the Jewish root which supported their Christian branch. (Romans 11:17,18,25)

However, by the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325, Christianity was both anti-Judaic and anti-Semitic.[10] Messianic Judaism was presumed by many to have died out after the Council of Nicea. However, in the records of the Inquisition there are accounts of Jewish believers in Yeshua who were persecuted by the inquisitors well into the 12th and 13th centuries, but as persecution from the Roman church became stronger, Messianic Judaism became almost invisible to history.[11]

Messianic Judaism in the 19th century

Criticism of Messianic Judaism

Converts to Messianic Judaism are usually shunned by their Jewish families of origin and are excluded from the local Jewish community. The Central Conference of American Rabbis has stated: "For us in the Jewish community, anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. Through that belief she has placed herself outside the Jewish community. Whether she cares to define herself as a Christian or as a 'fulfilled Jew,' 'Messianic Jew,' or any other designation is irrelevant; to us, she is clearly a Christian."[12]

The Jewish community often perceives Messianic Judaism as Christianity hijacking Judaism in order to convert Jews and misrepresenting Judaism to gain converts. They believe that Messianic Judaism is a corruption of the most deeply spiritual rituals and customs that honor Judaism's connection to God through Torah. Unfortunately, when Messianic Jews defend themselves against such claims, it often results in the Jewish community being perceived as attacking Christianity rather than defending Judaism, which intensifies the distrust between all parties.

Dr. David A. Rausch, associate professor of church history and Judaic studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ohio, summed up the attitude of many Jewish people in the comment he was given by a member of the Jewish Defense League: "These Messianics are the Nazis - the spiritual Nazis. They pretend to be Jews and use traditional Jewish symbols to trap children and the unsuspecting."[13] The sentiments are not confined entirely to Judaism; the same author was told by a Christian missionary: "To these "Messianic Jews" Jewishness means Judaism, a rabbinic Judaism of the Ashkenazic flavor. They neither have a real knowledge of Jewish history or of Jewish-Christian history, nor do they possess a good handle on biblical exegesis. Like the Ebionites of old they will finally blend into Judaism and deny the Messiah."[14]

The Israeli Supreme Court decreed on 25 December 1989 that Messianic Jews were not eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. Because of their belief in Yeshua, they are viewed as belonging to another religion. In contrast Jews who are atheists and humanists can return.[15] In 2008, the Israeli Minister of Interior began moves to revoke the citizenship of Messianic Jewish believers who immigrated into Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. Many well known Israeli Messianic leaders received notices from the Ministry of Interior that their citizenship is under review for this procedure. [16]

See also

External links

References

  1. Robinson, B. Messianic Judaism Religious Tolerance. Accessed 21 February 2008
  2. There is no contemporary founder or leader and no single group or individual speaks for all Messianics. However, most Messianics would generally accept these points.
  3. Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. "Messianic Judaism" (Continuum International, 2000)
  4. Hargis, David M. Basics of Messianic Judaism Messianic Bureau International. Accessed 21 February 2008
  5. The Great Revolt Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed 18 February 2008
  6. Lendering, Jona Fiscus Judaicus "Articles on Ancient History" Livius. Accessed 18 February 2008
  7. Acts 2
  8. Barclay, John M. G.; Hooker, Morna Dorothy and McMurdo, John Philip (ed.) "Early Christian Thought in Its Jewish Context" (Cambridge University Press; 2007) ISBN 0-5210-4412-X
  9. The Olive Tree and the wild olive branch "The Wild Olive Branch" Accessed 18 February 2008
  10. As Constantine said at the Council: "Let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews." Boyle, Isaac "A Historical View of The Council of Nicea" (T Mason and G Lane, New York; 1839)
  11. Chaimberlin, Richard Aharon Messianic Judaism For Dummies Petah Tikvah. Accessed 18 February 2008
  12. Robinson, B. Opposition to Messianic Judaism Religious Tolerance. Accessed 21 February 2008
  13. Rausch, David A. The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement Religion Online. Accessed 21 February 2008
  14. ibid
  15. Robinson, B. Opposition to Messianic Judaism Religious Tolerance. Accessed 21 February 2008
  16. Decker, Michael Jerusalem Institute of Justice News Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. Accessed 22 February 2008