Messianic Jews Question

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DAL | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Sep 20 2018 4:24 PM

Can anyone point to a good resource to learn about Messianic Jews that meet in synagogues on Saturday and Sunday? I have a friend that left Christianity to follow his Hebrew/Jewish roots (Even though he’s not a Jew).  Here are some of the things he’s emphasizing that he just learned:

1.  Everybody can serve Elohim because we all have the Torah.

2.  They don’t believe Jesus is God (Deity), rather, just the son of God.  They also don’t believe in The Holy Spirit because then you’d be worshipping 3 Gods and that’s sinful.

3.  They believe you have to say Yeshua because if you say Jesus, then you’re not saying Jesus’s name right; AND you’re believing in a prefabricated Jesus made up by the catholic church.

4.  They also believe that the Bible is corrupt thanks to the catholic church and the Greeks.

5.  There’s also some kind of Hebrew alphabet code that can tell you if you have some “Jewish in your ancestors.” He claims he does and many people in Latin America and all over the world too.

6.  And finally, they say western theology can’t be trusted.

These are some of the things this particular branch of judaism believes. They claim there are many branches of judaism but not all are right.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

Thank you!

DAL

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 20 2018 5:51 PM

Logos does have a number of resources from Messianic Jewish Publishers. In addition, I'd mention Chosen People Ministries, which evangelizes to Jews and supports the establishment of Messianic Jewish synagogues.

Messianic Judaism is a sect of Judaism which holds to the belief that Yeshua is the Messiah.  They still keep the commandments, and don't consider themselves converts to Christianity. In other words, they don't turn from Judaism, but do accept that Yeshua is their Savior.

Gentiles can and do attend Messianic services, and are considered Messianic gentiles. Some adopt Jewish practices.

I'll try to answer the points which I can.

DAL:
1.  Everybody can serve Elohim because we all have the Torah.

The Torah was given to the Jews. Gentiles keep the 7 Noahide Laws.

DAL:
2.  They don’t believe Jesus is God (Deity), rather, just the son of God.  They also don’t believe in The Holy Spirit because then you’d be worshipping 3 Gods and that’s sinful.

They believe that God is one, but I've never encountered a rejection of the Holy Spirit, or of Jesus as God.

DAL:
3.  They believe you have to say Yeshua because if you say Jesus, then you’re not saying Jesus’s name right; AND you’re believing in a prefabricated Jesus made up by the catholic church.

Yes. Unfortunately, Jews have had to deal with centuries of persecution (and forced conversion) from many denominations and religions.

DAL:
4.  They also believe that the Bible is corrupt thanks to the catholic church and the Greeks.

Never encountered a belief that the Bible is corrupt. In my experience, they teach from the NT as well as the OT.

DAL:
There’s also some kind of Hebrew alphabet code that can tell you if you have some “Jewish in your ancestors.” He claims he does and many people in Latin America and all over the world too.

I've heard of Gematria (if that's what your friend is referring to), but not that it can identify if a person is Jewish.

DAL:
6.  And finally, they say western theology can’t be trusted.

Not really sure what that means, apart from the the understanding that the first believers/followers of Yeshua were Jews, but Christianity eventually moved away from its Jewish roots as more Gentiles became saved. I think the main contention is that a Christian would expect a Jew to convert.

DAL:
They claim there are many branches of judaism but not all are right.

I think that any sect of Judaism believes their beliefs are right. This is not unique to Messianic Judaism.

This would be a good place to note that traditional Judaism sees any belief that Yeshua is the Messiah as blasphemy/apostasy, believes that a Messianic Jew has rejected Judaism, and that a Messianic Rabbi would no longer be a Rabbi.

For what it's worth, my first exposure to Messianic Judaism was when a Messianic Rabbi (from Chosen People Ministries) came to our church to speak about "Jesus in the Passover." He brought up many things I had never heard or been taught in a Pentecostal church. I was intrigued by this, and eventually started attending a Messianic synagogue.

I don't care for any divisive arguments or views that one sect or denomination is the right way -- Jesus is the way. I believe all who believe that Jesus/Yeshua died on the cross for their sins and rose again, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, are part of His Church, whether Jew or Christian.

P.S. Dr. Fruchtenbaum, a Messianic believer, also has a course and a book on Israelology (the theology of Israel), as well as many other books in Logos.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 20 2018 6:24 PM

DAL:
I have a friend that left Christianity

It sounds like your friend still follows the same Messiah who he now calls Yeshua. I don't think God calls us to argue over the pronunciation of a name.

I attend a synagogue (which wouldn't be considered Christian), but still identify as a Christian. It doesn't make me a Jew, simply because I attend a Jewish place of worship, or follow a different liturgy or type of service.

Likewise, a Jew who believes that Yeshua is the (Jewish) Messiah doesn't necessarily stop being a Jew.

Posts 80
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 20 2018 7:58 PM

DAL:

Can anyone point to a good resource to learn about Messianic Jews that meet in synagogues on Saturday and Sunday? I have a friend that left Christianity to follow his Hebrew/Jewish roots (Even though he’s not a Jew).  Here are some of the things he’s emphasizing that he just learned:

1.  Everybody can serve Elohim because we all have the Torah.

2.  They don’t believe Jesus is God (Deity), rather, just the son of God.  They also don’t believe in The Holy Spirit because then you’d be worshipping 3 Gods and that’s sinful.

3.  They believe you have to say Yeshua because if you say Jesus, then you’re not saying Jesus’s name right; AND you’re believing in a prefabricated Jesus made up by the catholic church.

4.  They also believe that the Bible is corrupt thanks to the catholic church and the Greeks.

5.  There’s also some kind of Hebrew alphabet code that can tell you if you have some “Jewish in your ancestors.” He claims he does and many people in Latin America and all over the world too.

6.  And finally, they say western theology can’t be trusted.

These are some of the things this particular branch of judaism believes. They claim there are many branches of judaism but not all are right.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

Thank you!

DAL

I am myself personally a Messianic Jew. That is, I am what was once called a Jewish-Christian. I was born into a non-observant Jewish family, whose ancestry hailed from Ashkenazi Jews from Germany. My Paternal Grand Parents were Reformed Jews who sometimes went to Shul (i.e. Synagogue) on one of the high Jewish festivals, and passed on their rich Jewish ancestry to my father. I "converted" to Christianity when I was 18, but what almost all Messianic Jews mean by "converted" is that this was the moment in time when we first became aware that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and that in him is the "true" manifestation of Israel. Not that we were ever not a chosen child of God, and then suddenly became one. The word "conversion" in this sense is therefore pretty misleading, but for some reason we still use it to express that moment.

Everything your friend says pertains to some Messianic Jews, but certainly not all. Perhaps, not even to most Messianic Jews. You see, like all things to do with being a human, and certainly as regards to do with everything to do with religion, with Messianic Jewish beliefs, one size does not fit all. It comes in many shapes and colors. I have in my time come across some very strange belief systems in it. But, then again, that is also true of my experience of Christianity as well. 

However, despite this human tendency to fracture into a kaleidoscope of many hues of color when it comes to belief, historically since its inception in the 1960s, Messianic Judaism has had a common core of beliefs. Most Messianic Jews accept the Trinity; most accept the same New Testament that the Christian Church accepts as cannon; whereas most Messianic Jews do not accept Rabbinic ordinances and Talmudic practices as binding on an individual Messianic Jew, they continue to preserve the traditions, heritage, and ancestral religious practices which has formed and shaped Jewish identity since the time of Moses. This means most Messianic Jews go to Shul (Synagogue) on Shabbat; they observe the principal High Festivals such as Passover (Pesach), Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), Feast of Booths (Sukkot), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and New Year (Rosh Hashanah), but do so as a celebration of Jewish history preserved in memorial events, rather than as in any way binding on a person as a means of Grace; and most observe in a very loose way the dietary regulations that can be traced back thousands of years to the time of the first Israelites. However, this does not mean observing the Rabbinic laws of Kashrut (often erroneously referred to by the highly recognisable Yiddish word "kosher"). These are recognised by most Messianic Jews as being an invention of Rabbinic Judaism and not based on scripture.  

One thing you said that your friend is asserting which is certainly not true, is that, although he is not a genetic descendent of Isaac, he identifies himself as a Jew. This is clearly wrong according to the received wisdom on what makes a person a Jew. This is fundamentally based on your genetic ancestry. If you don't have any Jewish genes whatsoever, you are most certainly and clearly not a Jew. And I don't know of any "party" within Messianic Judaism that would say otherwise.

As to your friends assertion that the use of "Yeshua" as the only true appellation for Jesus, there are some "parties" within Messianic Judaism that claim this. Historically, this hearkens back to the Jewish resistance of Hellenism in the Hasmonean period (often referred to as the Maccabean period), where a powerful element within Jewish society at that time resisted even the use of Greek names. However, for most Messianic Jews, we believe we are free to call our Lord by whatever name we feel is appropriate for us as a believer. Some, who continue to speak Hebrew in the household, call Him by his Hebrew name Yeshua. I, however, personally choose to use the name "Jesus", because in my experience that is the name the whole world is familiar with, and it helps to avoid confusion over who I am talking about. Also, I do so because that is the name used by God's Word - scripture. If it is good enough for the Father, it is good enough for me.

Next, we come to the most complex of your friend's claims that the "bible" has been allegedly corrupted through the influence of Catholic Christianity. This is a complex question, because some of it is true to a certain degree, but most of it is not. 

First, there is the question of which part of the Bible has been allegedly corrupted. For the most part, most people would agree that, as regards to the Hebrew scriptures, the discovery of the biblical manuscripts found in the Dead Sea caves at Qumran, has confirmed to experts that the Masoretic text of both the Stuttgartensia and the Leningradensis manuscripts (the oldest complete manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible we had before the discovery of the biblical manuscripts at Qumran), and as expressed in the text of the Biblia Hebraica (Kittel), had been pretty faithful to the text of the original authors. That isn't a minority opinion; it isn’t some crack-pot idea. It is the opinion of almost all well respected scholars of the textual history of the Hebrew Bible. To that end, I am now going to quote an online source about this:

A significant comparison study was conducted with the Isaiah Scroll written around 100 B.C. that was found among the Dead Sea documents and the book of Isaiah found in the Masoretic text. After much research, scholars found that the two texts were practically identical. Most variants were minor spelling differences, and none affected the meaning of the text.

https://probe.org/the-dead-sea-scrolls/

I chose that quote from an online source so that if your friend wanted to read the full text himself, he would be able to. It wouldn't require him to get access to a scholarly book.

As to the tradition history of the text of the New Testament, and the allegation that the Catholic Church has for thousands of years been corrupting it for whatever reason (and you hear this allegation from many of the splinter groups within Christendom), the inception of the science of Textual Criticism in the Nineteenth Century with Westcott and Hort has confirmed that, whereas the textual history of the Vulgate shows some signs of corruption of what is believed to be the original signatures of the New Testament (i.e. as compared to the Nestle-Aland text), it certainly isn't anywhere near the alleged level of corruption from these many splinter groups within Christianity. So, I wouldn't put too much credence on what your friend is alleging. It's common currency in the world of Counter-Christian movements to slander the history of the Church. This is because they need to validate to themselves why they felt they need to leave the established Church in order to join such a splinter Counter-Christian "party". If there was no good reason to reject the established Church, then how would any such Counter-Christian group have any authority to speak for what is God's Word, and what is not?

As to resources, I suggest you google for such things. There are many websites offering links to online teaching resources. There is no such thing as an "official" Messianic website, or World Group who are attempting to speak on behalf of all Messianic Jews the world over. There are dominant groups, such as “Jews for Jesus” in the West, and the Kehila community in Israel. But strictly speaking, Messianic Judaism is a loose group of brothers and sisters in Christ the World over, who also happen to be Jews by birth. We fellowship and organise ourselves very much on that basis, rather than an authoritarian community who think there is only one way of being a Jew in Christ.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 392
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 20 2018 8:41 PM

A fascinating thread. Thank you for sharing the question and your thoughts. Keep well Paul  

Posts 69
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 12:52 PM

Hi DAL,

I’m a Messianic Jew (a Jew who believes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel), I’m a member of a thirty-five-year-old Messianic Jewish synagogue, and I’m currently working toward an MDiv in Messianic Jewish Studies from The King’s Seminary. I will try to answer your questions as succinctly as possible.

From what you’ve described, your friend is not part of a mainstream Messianic Jewish congregation, he is part of what’s commonly known as the Hebrew Roots Movement. Hebrew Roots congregations are almost entirely made up of non-Jews (gentiles) who either believe that all of the Torah (Old Testament law) is for all believers (not just Jews) and/or have adopted quasi-Jewish practices while typically (but not always) being hostile toward Judaism and/or who believe that they are members of one of the “Lost Tribes of Israel” i.e. one of the northern tribes who were exiled by the Assyrians around 722 B.C.E. They usually believe that all/most of Christian tradition is pagan and bad and often believe the same about Jewish tradition.

To be clear, I’m not saying that they are all bad people or unsaved, they are just (for the most part) seriously uninformed. They get most of their teaching from (usually) untrained YouTube/Facebook “teachers” who in most cases don’t use/cite scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. They simply don’t know what they don’t know.

While I could point you toward many good resources, the one I highly recommend you get first is Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations. Here is a link to the Logos version:

https://www.logos.com/product/50392/introduction-to-messianic-judaism-its-ecclesial-context-and-biblical-foundations

The general editors are David Rudolph and Joel Willitts, both of whom earned their PhDs from Cambridge. Rudolph is a second-generation Messianic Jew and the head of the Messianic Jewish Studies program at The King’s University. The first half of the book is written by Messianic Jewish leaders. The second half of the book is written by Christian scholars who are sympathetic toward Messianic Judaism such as Craig Keener, Richard Bauckham, Markus Bockmuehl, Douglas Harink, R. Kendall Soulen, and Darrell Bock (a Jewish Christian).

I also highly recommend the teachings, books, and resources of First Fruits of Zion, a Messianic Jewish ministry with offices in Israel and North America.

I will briefly reply to your points below:

1.  Everybody can serve Elohim because we all have the Torah.

  • I think what you (or your friend) mean to say is that everyone (Jews and gentiles) should or must keep the Torah. This is a common doctrine within the Hebrew Roots movement and is known as “One Law” doctrine by those who reject it, which includes mainstream Messianic Judaism. In contrast, Messianic Judaism believes that there is to remain a distinction (yet equality) between Jews and non-Jews who believe in Jesus. Jews who come to faith in Jesus should remain Jews (not assimilate into gentiles) and non-Jews should remain non-Jews (not convert to Judaism). Jews and non-Jews worshiping the G-d of Israel as the Body of Messiah are a prolepsis (foretaste) of the Messianic Kingdom. Gentile Christians do not replace Israel or become “spiritual Israel.”

2.  They don’t believe Jesus is God (Deity), rather, just the son of God.  They also don’t believe in The Holy Spirit because then you’d be worshipping 3 Gods and that’s sinful.

  • Mainstream Messianic Judaism strongly maintains that Jesus is an equal part of the Godhead and is, therefore, deity. We also believe in the Holy Spirit. We believe in a “complex monotheism” that does not violate the Second Temple Jewish understanding of monotheism (Two Powers in Heaven) but does go against the later (and especially Middle Ages) Jewish narrowing of monotheism.

3.  They believe you have to say Yeshua because if you say Jesus, then you’re not saying Jesus’s name right; AND you’re believing in a prefabricated Jesus made up by the catholic church.

  • No one within mainstream Messianic Judaism believes that you have to say Yeshua. Many/most within MJ do call him by his Hebrew name—Yeshua—as would have his family and his disciples. “Jesus” of course is an English word and didn’t exist at the time. That said, we have no problem using “Jesus” in contexts where it makes sense e.g. when speaking to Christians or others unfamiliar with Hebrew.

4.  They also believe that the Bible is corrupt thanks to the catholic church and the Greeks.

  • I’m not sure how to address this without more specifics. Paul and other New Testament writers wrote and spoke Greek and were steeped in Greco-Roman diaspora culture. Even if some of the New Testament books may have originally been written in Hebrew or Aramaic, they were certainly soon copied and distributed in Greek. The Septuagint is of course Greek and was translated by the Jews. And the Jews preserved the Tanakh (Old Testament). So I’m not sure what the specific objection here is other than what I said previously: these folks believe that because of Constantine and the church fathers (many of whom were extremely anti-Semitic) that all Christian teaching and tradition is bad. This is an overcorrection in my opinion.

5.  There’s also some kind of Hebrew alphabet code that can tell you if you have some “Jewish in your ancestors.” He claims he does and many people in Latin America and all over the world too.

  • I’ve heard a lot of strange/interesting doctrines from folks who claim to be Messianic, but this is a new one to me! I’m of course familiar with gematria, but I’ve never heard it being used to tell genetic ancestry. I would think a $69 Ancestry.com DNA test would be more reliable ;) The part about many people in Latin America having Jewish ancestry is true. This is because of the forced conversion to Christianity of many thousands of Sephardic Jews from Spain/Portugal during the Middle Ages. They are called Marranos or Conversos. That said, having distant Jewish ancestry is different than being halakhically (legally) Jewish. Having Great-great grandparents who were Jewish does not make you Jewish under Jewish law in any of the branches of Judaism.

6.  And finally, they say western theology can’t be trusted.

  • Again, this is a generalization and the underlying premise, I think, is that all Christian (and a lot of Jewish tradition) is bad, and we should instead be following a “Bible only” version of Israelite Torah observance. This is typical within Hebrew Roots congregations who have a tendency to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

These are some of the things this particular branch of judaism believes. They claim there are many branches of judaism but not all are right.

  • Again, Hebrew Roots is not a recognized part of any form of mainstream Messianic Judaism. All of the major Messianic Jewish organizations reject “One Law” theology, “Twelve Tribe” theology, and affirm the divinity of Yeshua and the distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua. If your friend disagrees with what I’ve outlined, he is not practicing Messianic Judaism as defined by all of its major leaders and organizations throughout the world.

Hope this helps DAL!!

Shalom,

Matthew

Posts 5943
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 1:22 PM

Wow! Super response! Thank you Matthew, PetahChristian, David, Paul and I hope I’m not missing anyone else.

I don’t know if the name Dan Ben Avraham means anything to you guys, but he’s in The Ministry of the Two Olive Branches (of course the name is in Spanish). But yes, he teaches in Miami, FLORIDA and has a lot of YouTube videos.  I think my friend has been listening to him a lot. They claim that without Yeshua their Judaism would be nothing, but I’ll ask my friend why they don’t believe Jesus is equal to God.

Thanks for all the excellent information and the resource recommendation! I’ll be looking into them, definitely!

Blessings!

DAL

Posts 438
Richard Villanueva | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 1:23 PM

Paul:
A fascinating thread. Thank you for sharing the question and your thoughts.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul.  I have had a couple interactions with this vein of thought over the past year or two - specifically the Hebrew Roots and the Black Israelite Movements.  Both of which seem to follow an unorthodox doctrine of legalism.  I do have friends whose worship more or less resembles Dr Staveley and Matthew's beliefs as Messianic Jews (which, by all means, seems to jive with the basic tenets of Christianity!)  

Any books that would help in conversation with the Hebrew Roots and Black Israelite adherents is appreciated! 

My thoughts and Logos searches have tended to revolve around judaizers, legalism, and ideas of the like.  I've also leaned on the scriptures in Galatians and Hebrews when in thought and discussions with them.

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 1:46 PM

Lex Meyer has an excellent set of Jewish Messianic teachings, especially rebutting false ideas such as the ones you listed.

https://www.unlearnthelies.com/

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Posts 5943
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 2:36 PM

Jan Krohn:

Lex Meyer has an excellent set of Jewish Messianic teachings, especially rebutting false ideas such as the ones you listed.

https://www.unlearnthelies.com/

Thanks! I saved the link for reference. Anything will help πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

Posts 69
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 2:47 PM

DAL:

I don’t know if the name Dan Ben Avraham means anything to you guys, but he’s in The Ministry of the Two Olive Branches (of course the name is in Spanish). But yes, he teaches in Miami, FLORIDA and has a lot of YouTube videos.

I have not heard of him.

Posts 69
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 3:03 PM

Richard Villanueva:

Any books that would help in conversation with the Hebrew Roots and Black Israelite adherents is appreciated! 

My thoughts and Logos searches have tended to revolve around judaizers, legalism, and ideas of the like.  I've also leaned on the scriptures in Galatians and Hebrews when in thought and discussions with them.

I do not know of any books written that specifically address Hebrew Roots or the Black Israelite movement. There's a great book written by Boaz Michael from First Fruits of Zion that addresses the Lost Tribes doctrine called Twelve Gates: Where Do the Nations Enter? Here is a link:

https://ffoz.com/twelve-gates-book.html

As far as understanding Paul and his teaching concerning Judaizers, legalism, and especially the letters to the Romans and the Galatians, I can't recommend highly enough the work of Jewish scholar Mark Nanos. I would start with the book Paul Within Judaism: Restoring the First-Century Context to the Apostle which is available in Logos:

https://www.logos.com/product/52325/paul-within-judaism-restoring-the-first-century-context-to-the-apostle

I also recommend his books The Irony of Galatians: Paul's Letter in First-Century Context (Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/Irony-Galatians-Letter-First-Century-Context/dp/0800632141/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1537566760&sr=8-7&keywords=mark+nanos

and The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul's Letters (Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Romans-Jewish-Context-Letters-ebook/dp/B004QF0P2S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1537566760&sr=8-5&keywords=mark+nanos

in addition to his most recent series on reading Paul within Judaism. 

Posts 5943
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2018 6:14 PM

Clearly, my friend is just learning these new things.  I spoke to him yesterday and he still doesn't believe Jesus to be Deity (God).  I explain the concept of "Complex Monotheism" or "Bi-Trinitaniarism;" i.e., some believe only God the Father and the Son (Jesus) are Deity, but not the Holy Spirit, but he was pretty much adamant that Jesus is not God, because of "Here ye Israel, the Lord your God is ONE..." 

He claims a lot of the doctrines believed by many today (e.g. the trinity) were decided by the catholic church during the many councils they held (i.e. Nicaea, etc.), because the catholic church's hidden agenda was to make a universal doctrine for everyone to believe, so the catholic church could control everyone.

He's definitely into these new things, but unfortunately, his lack of knowledge is not helping him either.

One last question: Do Messianic Jews allow "gentiles" to preach/teach in their synagogues? I had another friend about 10 years ago, who used to be a Messianic Jew because she didn't like the idea that for every event they had or high holidays, they always invited Jews and no one else.  "Gentiles" she claimed, they just were members, but had to sit down and let the Jews take care of everything (her words).

Anyway, I will definitely but at least the two books recommended on Introduction to Messianic Judaism and the one Paul within Judaism.

It's been quite an interesting thread and the responses have all been great! Thanks to all who participated!

Have a great weekend!

DAL

Posts 69
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 22 2018 8:59 PM

"but he was pretty much adamant that Jesus is not God, because of "Here ye Israel, the Lord your God is ONE...""

Too much to get into here, but briefly, The Shema (Dt 6:4) is notoriously tricky to translate. The Lexham English Bible (Logos’ translation) translates it:

“Hear, Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique.”

The NET Bible give a textual note that says:

“Heb “the Lord, our God, the Lord, one.” (1) One option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT). This would be an affirmation that the Lord was the sole object of their devotion. This interpretation finds support from the appeals to loyalty that follow (vv. 5, 14). (2) Another option is to translate: “The Lord is our God, the Lord is unique.” In this case the text would be affirming the people’s allegiance to the Lord, as well as the Lord’s superiority to all other gods. It would also imply that he is the only one worthy of their worship. Support for this view comes from parallel texts such as Deut 7:9 and 10:17, as well as the use of “one” in Song 6:8–9, where the starstruck lover declares that his beloved is unique (literally, “one,” that is, “one of a kind”) when compared to all other women.”

That first option, to translate א֢חָד as “alone,” is actually how the Jewish Publication Society translates it:

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” (JPS 1985)

It should be noted that the Jewish Publication Society are most definitely not believers in Jesus!

As for showing that Judaism was at one time in support of a complex monotheism, see the following:

http://twopowersinheaven.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Bodies-God-World-Ancient-Israel/dp/1107422264/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1537674831&sr=8-2&keywords=benjamin+sommer

"One last question: Do Messianic Jews allow "gentiles" to preach/teach in their synagogues? I had another friend about 10 years ago, who used to be a Messianic Jew because she didn't like the idea that for every event they had or high holidays, they always invited Jews and no one else.  "Gentiles" she claimed, they just were members, but had to sit down and let the Jews take care of everything (her words)."

It depends on the congregation. Most Messianic Jewish congregations are made up of more gentiles than Jews currently. In the beginning of the modern renewal of Messianic Judaism in the 1960s and 70s, it was college-aged Jews who were coming to faith in Jesus in large numbers who started many of the now older Messianic synagogues. However, in the 1990s and following, more and more gentiles have been led to study the Jewish roots of the faith and have been coming into Messianic congregations in large numbers. This has caused some Messianic leaders to push back in order to ensure that Messianic Jewish congregations remain just that—Jewish congregations of believers in the Jewish Messiah. So it is true that some (a minority) Messianic congregations reserve leadership positions for its Jewish members while allowing gentiles to come along side them in a supportive role, much like the Levites coming along side the priests.

Hope this helps!

Posts 231
Genghis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 2:29 AM

There is no orthodox Messianic Jewish creed or set of beliefs as such.  There are people who call themselves who "Messianic Jews" who orthodox Jews would call Gentiles, as not all MJs believe that you have to be genetically Jewish to be Jewish.  Not all MJs believe that Gentiles should adhere only to the Noahide laws.  Not all MJs believe that the jurisdiction of the Torah is restricted to ethnic Jews. 

To try to pin MJs down to a list of beliefs at this early period of its development where things are moving quickly is risky.  

Messianic Judaism is a blurring of the lines between Judaism and Christianity.

See the Paul within Judaism movement within Jewish theological circles.to see further evidence of the blurring of the lines between Christianity and Judaism.  

The blurring is only natural considering the OT's ideas about (re)new(ed) covenants and the NT's motifs such as removed dividing walls, and branches grafted in.

Posts 231
Genghis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 2:35 AM

And I met a Jewish rabbi who once said to me that "Can a Jew call himself a Jew if he doesn't love the Lord His God with all his heart, mind and strength?"

Sounded uncannily like being saved  by Faith to me!

Then the same rabbi  then said, Hitler's goal was futile as he  sought to eliminate a race when the Jews were never a race, as they were and are a people group borne of faith, not blood.  

And if Paul says that we are Christians are "grafted in" and now "call Abraham our father" then is it possible that we should be called Jews too?  Just an unsettling  thought.

Posts 231
Genghis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 2:44 AM

DAL:
6.  And finally, they say western theology can’t be trusted.

Well, the bible does say, "test all things."

A lot of weird and unusual stuff that your friend claims to be part of Messianic Judaism.  I've been reading about MJ for some time now, and I'd have to say I'd be surprised if most of them hold to these views. 

Sounds he's got himself involved in a sect within a sect. 

Christianity was once considered a sect of Judaism.  The Romans found the early church difficult to differentiate from orthodox Judaism, it's arguable whether it steered the right course in detaching itself from Judaism.  

There are many that look askance at the Anti-Semitism of prominent leaders such as John Chrysostom today.

Posts 24
Adam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 4:14 AM

Matthew:
It should be noted that the Jewish Publication Society are most definitely not believers in Jesus!

Matthew, I'd be keen to hear why on this as I have a few resources from JPS that I thought were legit but happy to be corrected

Posts 5943
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 10:26 AM

One last question: will this package contribute anything to what I’m trying to study?

https://www.logos.com/product/128297/logos-7-jewish-studies-library-expansion-xl

If not, I’ll just stick to the two highly recommended books that stood out from this thread

πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

DAL

Posts 69
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 11:49 AM

Adam:

Matthew:
It should be noted that the Jewish Publication Society are most definitely not believers in Jesus!

Matthew, I'd be keen to hear why on this as I have a few resources from JPS that I thought were legit but happy to be corrected

JPS resources are absolutely legit, some of the best Jewish scholarship available. I think I own every JPS resource available in Logos. My point was that they translate Dt 6:4 as "alone" rather than "one" in spite of the fact that it can be used to bolster the position of those (like us) who hold to a complex monotheism even though they do not, because they are not Yeshua-followers (i.e. believe in Jesus). I can only assume they translated it that way because they believe that "alone" is more accurate than "one," and I respect that integrity.

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