Summary: Although Messianic Judaism is how it all began with the Jewish Messiah and Jewish Apostles, it has been treated as an unwanted stepchild by Judaism and much of the Church
Some Provocative Food for Thought.
There is a much-needed conversation… so let’s talk.
Traditional Judaism and traditional Christianity have often treated
Messianic Judaism as an embarrassing and problem stepchild.
It is an ecclesial anathema. They don’t know what to do with Messianic Judaism because they still have their Bibles that give Messianic Judaism (MJ) star billing. The writers of the Old and New Testaments were Jewish. Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah. Yeshua and His Jewish Apostles were all Torah observant, as was the first-century expansion. These indisputable facts destabilize their (Traditional Judaism and Christianity) polemics and apologetics. So they have sometimes diminished and marginalized Messianic Judaism’s importance, rather than engage in the paradigm shift that Biblical history and Biblical exegesis requires of them. Much of Christianity even conceives its self as replacing the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones (Replacement Theology). So un-biblical and so anti-Semitic! They (Judaism and Christianity) have made themselves the measures of all things doctrinally, rather than allow the Hebrew Scriptures to speak for themselves, and be their doctrinal measuring stick. They usually judge MJ’s merits based on their own teachings and traditions. These traditions are often non-biblical and are inconsiderate of the whole counsel of YHWH. Both traditions have taken parts of the Scripture they want, and formed Jewish and Christian traditions that do not take into consideration G-d’s greater plan for all things. It is remindful of Yeshua’s confrontation with religious leaders and their traditions in Mark 7:13 (please read), in which Jesus accuses the leaders of Traditional Judaism of nullifying Torah because of their religious teachings and traditions. Not much has changed in the second two-thousand years.
In their own constructed way, both Traditional Judaism and Traditional Christianity have rejected the true Jewish Messiah, the One that actually did come. Both have conjured up designer Messiahs to suit their rabbinic and revisionary traditions. Judaism refused to accept the Anointed One who came from within their two-thousand year family tree. Christianity rejected the Jewish Messiah in preference to a newly minted Gentile Jesus and third-century anti-Semitic Gentile Church. Ironically, many Christians can’t see Yeshua because of their Jesus—if you know what I mean. Sometimes the Church’s Christian traditions were intentionally sanitized of all things Jewish—of course, this to the praise of the God of Israel? Both rebellions are egregious errors. Both have dared to add and subtract from the whole counsel of YHWH. Both have messed with the Scriptural witness as given by YHWH to, both, His Jewish Prophets and Jewish Apostles. Judaism rejects the New Testament scriptures and Christianity rejects (or diminishes) much of the Old Testament Scriptures. Both have selectively chosen the Bible parts permitted to be instructive to their traditions. Both embrace their traditions more than Scripture at times. Judaism likes the prophets more than the apostles, and the church likes the apostles more than the prophets. It’s Sinai or Calvary. Both have distinctive 2,000 year histories, separated only by the reference point, which is ironically called the Advent of the Jewish Messiah. It’s BC or AD. Both have long histories of persecuting Messianic Jews! Both use the Bible and their traditions to defend their selective Messianic Judaism antagonisms. Both oppositions to Messianic Judaism are prophesied in Scripture.
My purpose, here, is not to describe or portray the many beautiful and powerful Spirit-filled expressions of Messianic Judaism today, both in Israel and around the world. My purpose is to rightly reposition Biblical MJ back into front and center, both in terms of Biblical history and in Biblical theology. The same can be said for the sociology of religion: what is a sect and what is mainline? I ask that Judaism and Christianity make the messianic message of the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the primary reference point from which Judaism and Christianity can be Biblically self-evaluated. Messianic Judaism is the ekklesia pattern given us in Acts and the Epistles. I submit that Biblically revealed Messianic Judaism become the pattern from which Judaism and Christianity can best find their true reference point in YHWH’s revealed 4,000 year Messianic Israel plan. And it is more than exploring your Jewish roots or purchasing an Ancestry.com DNA kit!
Messianic Judaism has both feet firmly planted in the whole Bible, one foot in the Tanach (Old Testament) and one foot in the B’rit Hadasha (New Testament). Messianic Judaism holds the whole Bible to still be true and all of it is still applicable to us today. I invite traditional Judaism, traditional Christianity and evangelical Christianity to reposition Messianic Judaism back into centrality of their Biblical worldview. It is restoration theology as taught by Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles and John the Revelator. This will require rejecting some of their most treasured traditions and teachings, which neither Judaism or Christianity is prone to do. It is a long-standing family feud that glorifies the Anti-Messiah.