Messianic Judaism is a Biblically based movement of Jewish people who have come to believe in Yeshua as the promised Jewish Messiah, as well as Gentiles who love the Jewish people and who desire to worship Him in a Jewish way. Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, which means salvation. Messianic Jews believe that the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are the inerrant Word of G-d. In these writings is revealed both the history and future of mankind, from creation to the second coming of Messiah. Messianic Jews maintain their Jewish roots, heritage, lifestyle and culture by worshiping Yeshua HaMashiach (the Messiah) in a Jewish context. The Jewish holidays are observed from a Messianic point of view, with added understanding of G-d’s revelation in the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant).
Today, there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone. Some have estimated the number to be as high as 100,000. Messianic synagogues have sprung up in almost every major city across the country.
Other nations such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Holland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa are experiencing a growing movement of Messianic Judaism as well.
To some, the concept of a Jew believing in Yeshua (Jesus) seems to be a contradiction. The reason is that many people have a dichotomy set up in their minds. On the one hand, you have Jews and Judaism and on the other hand, Christians and Christianity.
You are either one or the other…..so the thinking goes.
But this simple dichotomy is, in reality, not so simple. If we go back 2,000 years historically, we find that Yeshua was a Jew living in a Jewish land among Jewish people. All of His followers were Jewish as well as the writers of the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant) and for many years this faith in Yeshua was strictly a Jewish one.
From the B’rit Chadashah and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century C.E. there were literally hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews. In addition, there were Messianic Congregations/Synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. These first-century Messianic Jews remained highly loyal to their land and their people.
Whether it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua was never an issue. Of course it was Jewish! What else could it be?
The biggest question that the followers of Yeshua wrestled with back then was whether Yeshua had been sent for the Gentiles also. There was great debate in the New Testament as to whether or not Gentiles had to convert to Judaism in order to follow Yeshua (Acts 15). Eventually, it was concluded that Gentiles did not have to convert and as a result, Gentiles from every nation began to pour into this Jewish faith.
Through the years, as the numbers of Gentile believers increased, they began to predominate in this faith. With the death of the Jewish Shlichim (apostles) and the early Messianic Jews, the Jewish roots of the faith were eventually lost. This “De-Judaizing” process continued until one of the greatest paradoxes in history occurred; it became alien for a Jewish person to believe in Yeshua as his Messiah. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there’s nothing more Jewish than to believe in a Jewish Messiah.
- 1 Acts 2:41; 2:47; 4:4; 6:7; 9:31; 21:20
- 2 Ya’akov (James) 1:1; 2:2