Messianic Judaism? Sounds like a contradiction. One of the things that separates Judaism and Christianity is their different emphasis, or lack there of, on Yeshua. To believe Yeshua was the Jewish messiah of prophecies should be the most Jewish thing in the world but it is not. Yeshua was a Jew, as well as His first followers. Most of the followers of Yeshua were Jewish, until well after the end of the first century. So what does it mean to belong to a Jewish messianic organization and why are they not just called Christians?
Before going on, let’s clarify a couple of things. Yeshua is Jesus’ given Hebrew name. Jesus is Greek from “Yesh” which means salvation. Yeshua is pronounced as one ...view middle of the document...
Christian means “follower of Christ” or “follower of the messiah.” Over time this term has become to mean a non-Jew. Someone is either a Jew or a Christian, mainly because the majority of Jews do not believe Yeshua HaMashiach.
Before Yeshua ascended into Heaven, He gave instructions to His disciples, “go then and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19). Until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, most of the followers of Yeshua were Jews. The few gentiles were fully converted to Judaism. When the Temple was destroyed, Jerusalem ceased being the center of Jewish spirituality. The belief in Yeshua was spread more readily to other nations. Gentile believers would one day out number the Jewish followers and problems would arise when the gentiles did not feel they needed to adopt Jewish traditions. They were not Jewish after all. With their great numbers behind them, the gentiles would soon transform religion. The Christians would create a religion that was foreign to the Jews, after removing the religion’s Jewish element. (There will be more on the subject later.) Messianic Judaism would survive until the forth century when the Christian church as we know it now formed. Some Jews would continue to follow the new Christian religion, but others would return to the familiarity of Judaism, without Yeshua.
There are several differences between Messianic Judaism and Christianity. Christians believe in Jesus, but disregard many of the Jewish traditions and laws of the Torah. Christians only give the Old Covenant a little reverence, such as only opting for 10 of the 613 mitzvots. Christians generally put all their emphasis on their love of God and forgo His Will outlined in the Old Covenant. Messianic Jews still observe all the Jewish laws and traditions, such as, keeping a kosher diet, feast days, and the other commands of God. To the Messianic Jews, God’s will is as important as their love for Him.
Since Messianic Judaism stays true to their Jewish roots, they celebrate all the Jewish Holy Days. “[Passover] and this day you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations, keep it as an ordinance forever,” (Exodus 12:14). When Messianic Jews observe these days, it is with the view that Yeshua is the fulfillment of the holidays. Such as, Yeshua becomes the Passover lamb. “First Corinthians 5:7 says Yeshua was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered,” from the Got Questions Ministries (2006). On Yom Kippur, Yeshua’s death becomes the atonement of the Messianic’s sins. Kavanaugh (2003), a Messianic Jew, believes, “when the Messiah returns to earth all the Jewish holidays will be reestablished worldwide.” Messianic Jews still honor the Jewish Sabbath which begins on Friday evenings.
Christmas and Easter are not found on the Messianic’s calender, or any other Christian holiday. There are two reasons why Christian holidays are not observed, first...