Friday, 22 June 2012
What is Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism is a movement of Jewish people who believe that Yeshua (Jesus' original name in Hebrew) is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. Yeshua was a descendant of both Abraham and King David, was raised in a Jewish home and went to synagogue. He perfectly kept the entire Torah (see Galatians 4:4). He taught that He came to fulfill, not set aside, the Torah (see Matthew 5:17-19). He performed unparalleled miracles, bringing great blessing to the nation of Israel. All His early disciples also lived very Jewish lives. The Messianic movement was entirely Jewish at its inception, and continued to exist as an authentic Jewish movement for 700 years after Yeshuaâdeath and resurrection. Messianic Jews have never stopped being Jewish. On the contrary, we remain strongly Jewish in our identity and lifestyle! The Tenach (the Old Covenant Scriptures) provides the foundation of our Jewish faith, and the New Covenant Scriptures the completion of our Jewish faith in the light of Messiah Yeshua. In fact, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves affirm that they are not complete, but that God was going to make a New Covenant with the Jewish people (Jeremiah 31:31-34). We believe that God established and ratified this New Covenant by means of Yeshua's death and resurrection. Yeshua died and rose again to atone for our sins, so that we can enter into this New Covenant relationship with God. We believe that Yeshua ascended to the right hand of God the Father and is coming back to Earth to reign from Jerusalem over Israel and all the nations of the world. At that time the fullness of the New Covenant will be realized.
What Is The Difference Between Messianic Judaism And Other Branches Of Judaism?
In general, we view the primary streams of Judaism as Rabbinic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism is centered around the teachings and writings of rabbis who rejected Messiah Yeshua. Its earliest formation began during the Babylonian Captivity (around 550 BC) and solidified approximately 2,000 years ago when the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Prior to that, "Judaism", or the faith of the Jewish people, was centered around the Levitical priesthood of the Temple and the sacrificial system, in accordance with Scripture. After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis who rejected Messiah Yeshua, developed a fundamentally different means for atonement from what we find in the Tenach. The rabbinic writings and commentaries (e.g. the Talmud) form the foundation of these several branches of Judaism: Orthodox, Chassidic, Conservative, Reform, and to a lesser extent, Reconstructionist. Messianic Judaism significantly differs from Rabbinic Judaism in that we fully rely on the Old and New Covenant Scriptures for our faith and practice. Our faith is the Judaism of Scripture and is centered on Messiah Yeshua. We are brought into personal relationship with God because of the atoning work of Yeshua, the King of the Jews.
Is There A Difference Between Messianic Judaism And Christianity?
In one sense, Messianic Judaism and Christianity are the same thing. There is only one faith. Messianic Jews and Christians share the same core beliefs. Christianity (the faith of the Gentiles in Messiah Yeshua), which originally began within the context of Messianic Judaism, is the same faith, although its primary expression is culturally different than Messianic Judaism. Theologically, the major between difference Messianic Judaism and Christianity lies in keeping the Torah. Clearly, the early Messianic Jews followed after Messiah Yeshua, who kept the Torah perfectly. Consequently, Messianic Judaism continues today to have a favorable view in keeping the Torah, and remains zealous to live in accordance with it (see Acts 21:20). The Gentile Believers were not required, in the same manner as the Jewish Believers, to observe the Law of Moses (see Acts 15:5,19-20).