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Messianic Jews – Introduction



Pages In This Entry:

  1. Messianic Jews - Introduction
  2. Is a Jew who believes in Jesus no longer a Jew?
  3. Messianic Jews in Israel
  4. Messianic Jews - Research Resources

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'Messianic Jews' are Jewish people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Savior and Lord. They are sometimes referred to as "Fulfilled Jews" - a reference to the idea that they consider the Jewish prophecies regarding a promised Messiah to have been fulfilled in Jesus.

Other Jewish people1 claim that Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah have in so doing converted to Christianity, and can therefore no longer refer to themselves as Jews.

Messianic Jews are also known as Jewish Christians, Hebrew Christians, Jewish believers in Jesus, etc. The Messianic Jewish movement consists of people raised Jewish and others, including Christians, who were not.

Controversial

The movement - and indeed the thought of Jews acknowledging Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah - is considered controversial, and often even outright deceptive, by many Jews:

"Messianic congregations are Christians portraying themselves as Jews," said Rabbi Richard Margolis, the leader of Temple Beth Sholom in Melbourne and a member of the Jewish Federation board of Brevard.

In an e-mail, he added, "The issue is deceit. This is a deceptive missionary movement, organized and heavily funded by evangelical Christians whose sole purpose is to convert Jews to (fundamentalist) Christianity. There is nothing Jewish about any of this."

In acknowledging Jesus and the Christian Scriptures, these congregations are accepting many other theological concepts contrary to the Jewish belief system, including original sin, the devil and demonology, "vicarious blood atonement," and the trinity, Margolis said.

"I have great respect for the authentic Christian tradition and maintain an ongoing program of interfaith activities in our community," Margolis said. "But I cannot countenance couching fundamentalist Christianity in Jewish symbols."
- Controversial Jewish sect professes faith in Jesus, The Herald, Nov. 27, 2005

In other words, many Jewish people consider the Messianic Jewish movement to be a 'sect' or 'cult' in the sense that - while the movement originated from Judaism - it differs from Judaism in such essential ways that it can no longer be seen as part of Judaism. [Note that the terms 'sect' and 'cult' have various meanings, and that many people use these terms interchangeably. See also: Sociologial vs. Theological definitions]

Note:

The religious Jewish community views with increasing alarm the growing numbers of Jewish people who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Believing a falsehood (that Jews who become Christians are no longer Jews), they see Jewish evangelism as an intellectual holocaust. Antimissionary organizations such as Rabbi Tovia Singer’s “Outreach Judaism” have been formed in order to counter Christian evangelism.

The Christian community welcomes the newly revived movement of Jesus-believing Jews, but it is necessary to raise several cautionary flags. For one thing, some Messianic groups may be cults, and others — to a greater or lesser degree — may emphasize Jewishness more than the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.- Source: Something old, Something new:
the messianic congregational movement
PDF file, by Bruce J. Lieske, Christian Research Journal. Vol. 22, number 1 (1999)

Fundamentalist Christians?

One 'cult expert' with a generally poor attitude toward Christians in general and toward Jewish followers of Jesus Christ in particular often refers to the latter as 'Fundamentalist Christians.' However, that classification is incorrect and merely serves to highlight that person's ignorance on the subject.

Notes:

  1. We are sensitive to the fact that the word 'Jew' has become somewhat charged linguistically, due to anti-semitism. In using the term here, we mean no offense. See also: Proud and True: He's a Jewoffsite, Jonah Goldberg, Jewish World Review, August 15, 2000

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This post was last updated: Apr. 24, 2014