Salvation in most forms of Messianic Judaism is achieved only through acceptance of Jesus as one's savior. It is believed that all sin has been atoned for by Jesus' death and resurrection. Any Jewish laws or customs that are followed are cultural and do not contribute to salvation. Belief in the messiahship and divinity of Jesus, which Messianic Judaism generally shares, is viewed by many Christian denominations and Jewish religious movements as a defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism. Mainstream Christian groups usually accept Messianic Judaism as a form of Christianity.
Some adherents of Messianic Judaism are ethnically Jewish, and many of them argue that the movement is a sect of Judaism. Jewish organizations, and the Supreme Court of Israel in cases related to the Law of Return, have rejected this claim, and instead consider Messianic Judaism to be a form of Christianity. From 2003 to 2007, the movement grew from 150 Messianic houses of worship in the United States to as many as 438, with over 100 in Israel and more worldwide; congregations are often affiliated with larger Messianic organizations or alliances. In 2008, the movement was reported to have between 6,000 and 15,000 members in Israel and 250,000 in the United States.
Efforts by Jewish Christians to proselytize Jews began in the first century, when Paul the Apostle preached at the synagogues in each city he visited. However, early accounts of missions to the Jews, such as Epiphanius of Salamis' record of the conversion of Count Joseph of Tiberias, and Sozomen's accounts of other Jewish conversions, do not mention converted Jews playing any leading role in proselytization. Notable converts from Judaism who themselves attempted to convert other Jews are more visible in historical sources beginning around the 13th century, when Jewish convert Pablo Christiani attempted to convert other Jews. This activity, however, typically lacked any independent Jewish-Christian congregations, and was often imposed through force by organized Christian churches.
The September 1813 meeting of Frey's "Beni Abraham" congregation at the rented "Jews' Chapel" in Spitalfields is sometimes pointed to as the birth of the semi-autonomous Hebrew Christian movement within Anglican and other established churches in Britain, though the non-Anglican minister of the chapel at Spitalfields evicted Frey and his congregation only three years later, and Frey severed his connections with the Society. A new location was found and the Episcopal Jew's Chapel Abrahamic Society registered in 1835.
In Eastern Europe, Joseph Rabinowitz established a Hebrew Christian mission and congregation called "Israelites of the New Covenant" in Kishinev, Ukraine in 1884. Rabinowitz was supported from overseas by the Christian HebraistFranz Delitzsch, translator of the first modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament. In 1865, Rabinowitz created a sample order of worship for Sabbath morning service based on a mixture of Jewish and Christian elements. Mark John Levy pressed the Church of England to allow members to embrace Jewish customs.
In the United States, a congregation of Jewish converts to Christianity was established in New York City in 1885. In the 1890s, immigrant Jewish converts to Christianity worshiped at the Methodist "Hope of Israel" mission on New York’s Lower East Side while retaining some Jewish rites and customs. In 1895, the 9th edition of Hope of Israel's Our Hope magazine carried the subtitle “A Monthly Devoted to the Study of Prophecy and to Messianic Judaism”, the first use of the term "Messianic Judaism". Hope of Israel was controversial; other missionary groups accused its members of being Judaizers, and one of the two editors of Our Hope magazine, Arno C. Gaebelein, eventually repudiated his views and, as a result, was able to become a leader in the mainstream Christian evangelical movement. In 1894, Christian missionary and Baptist ministerLeopold Cohn, a convert from Judaism, founded the Brownsville Mission to the Jews in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York as a Christian mission to Jews. After several changes in name, structure and focus, the organization is now called Chosen People Ministries and has operations and staff in the US and 11 other nations.
Missions to the Jews saw a period of growth between the 1920s and the 1960s. In the 1940s and 50s, missionaries in Israel, including the Southern Baptists, adopted the term meshichyim (משיחיים "Messianics") to counter negative connotations of the word notsrim (נוצרים "Christians", from "Nazarenes"); the term was used to designate all Jews who had converted to Protestant evangelical Christianity.
The Messianic Judaism movement, 1970s
Messianic Judaism itself arose in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1970s, a growing number of young Jews who had converted to Christianity were committed to maintaining a culturally Jewish lifestyle, in the mode advocated by Rabinowitz in the 19th century. Going against the thinking of the older members of the Hebrew Christian movement, they believed that different methods of evangelism of Jews were needed. They looked to and adopted some of the evangelizing techniques of Jews for Jesus. According to author Peter Hocken, "The new thrust that turned Hebrew Christians into Messianic Jews was distinctly charismatic." This reflected the influence of the charismatic Jesus movement at the same period. These younger members pressed the HCAA to change the "outdated" name of the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America (HCAA) to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA). In 1915, when the HCAA was founded, it had "consistently assuaged the fears of fundamentalist Christians by emphasizing that it is not a separate denomination but only an evangelistic arm of the evangelical church", and insisted that it would be free of these Judaizing practices "now and forever". Martin Chernoff, who was president of the HCAA from 1971 to 1975, led the effort to shift the organization's focus. In June 1973, a motion was made to change the name of the HCAA to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), and the name was officially changed in June 1975. According to David A. Rausch, "The name change, however, signified far more than a semantical expression—it represented an evolution in the thought processes and religious and philosophical outlook toward a more fervent expression of Jewish identity." The Messianic Israel Alliance, an organization of over 130 Messianic congregations and ministries, was formed in 1999.
As with many religious faiths, the exact tenets held vary from congregation to congregation. In general, essential doctrines of Messianic Judaism include views on God (that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, outside creation, infinitely significant and benevolent—viewpoints on the Trinity vary), Jesus (who is believed to be the Jewish Messiah, though views on his divinity vary), written Torah (with a few exceptions, Messianic Jews believe that Jesus taught and reaffirmed the Torah and that it remains fully in force), Israel (the Children of Israel are central to God's plan; replacement theology is opposed), the Bible (Tanakh and the New Testament are usually considered the divinely inspired Scripture, though Messianic Judaism is more open to criticism of the New Testament canon than is Christianity), eschatology (sometimes similar to many evangelical Christian views), and oral law (see also Christian Oral Tradition—observance varies, but most deem these traditions subservient to the written Torah). Certain additional doctrines, including those on sin and atonement and on faith and works, are more open to differences in interpretation.
God the Father—Messianic Jews believe in God and that he is all-powerful, omnipresent, eternally existent outside of creation, and infinitely significant and benevolent. Some Messianic Jews affirm both the Shema and the Trinity, by understanding that the phrase "the Lord is One" to be referring to "a differentiated but singular deity", and "eternally existent in plural oneness". Some Messianic believers profess only a strict view of monotheism, rejecting Trinitarian doctrine, but this is not common.
God the Son—Most Messianic Jews, in line with mainstream Christian theology, consider Jesus to be the Messiah and divine as God the Son. This belief is supported through links between Hebrew Bible prophecies and what Messianic Jews, together with most mainstream Christians, perceive as the prophecies' fulfillment in the New Testament. Many also consider Jesus to be their "chief teacher and rabbi" whose life should be copied. Many English-speaking Messianic Jews prefer to refer to Jesus by the Hebrew name "Yeshua" rather than by the English name "Jesus". Certain congregations outside mainstream Messianic Jewish belief do not ascribe divinity to Jesus, with some considering him a man, fathered by the Holy Spirit, who became the Messiah.
God the Holy Spirit—According to some Messianic Jews, the Spirit is introduced in the Old Testament as co-creator (Genesis 1:2), is the inspirer of prophets (II Sam. 23:1–3), and is the spirit of Truth described in the New Testament (John 14:17, 26). According to the teachings of Messianic Judaism, in the earthly life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was the dove at baptism (Matt 3:16) and the giver of tongues in Acts 2.
The place of Jesus in Messianic Judaism is usually clearly defined. His Jewishness and that of all the original disciples is affirmed. Messianic Judaism asserts that Jesus is the Word of God become manifest (John 1:1;14), a belief that is identical with normative Christian doctrine regarding the nature and identity of the son of God. Furthermore, Messianic Judaism generally asserts that the Messiah has a dual aspect as revealed in Scripture. Messianic Jews believe Jesus' first role as Messiah was to rescue the world from spiritual bondage, and that he will return again to rescue the world from physical oppression and establish his unending Kingdom—again, a belief that is identical to the normative Christian view of the Messiah. George Berkley writes that the Messianic Jews of the MJAA "worship not just God but Jesus" whom they call Yeshua.
Scriptures and writings
Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament (sometimes called the "Brit Chadasha", from the Hebrew for "new covenant") are usually considered to be the established and divinely inspired Biblical scriptures by Messianic Jews. Messianic believers generally consider the written Torah, the five books of Moses, to remain in force as a continuing covenant, revised by Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament, that is to be observed both morally and ritually. Jesus did not annul the Torah, but its interpretation is revised through the Apostolic scriptures.
Jewish oral tradition
Some Messianic communities believe that the rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud, while historically informative and useful in understanding tradition, are not normative and may not be followed where they differ from the New Testament. Other Messianic believers call rabbinic commentaries such as the Mishnah and the Talmud "dangerous", stating that followers of rabbinic and halakhic explanations and commentaries are not believers in Jesus as the Messiah. Furthermore, many Messianic believers deny the authority of the Pharisees, believing that they were superseded, and their teachings contradicted, by Messianism.
There is no unanimity among Messianic congregations on the issue of the Talmud and the Oral Torah. Most Messianic congregations and synagogues can be said to believe that the oral traditions are subservient to the Written Torah, and where there is a perceived conflict between the Torah and the Talmud, the plain interpretation of the Written Torah take precedence. Some congregations believe that adherence to the Oral Law, as encompassed by the Talmud, is against Messianic beliefs, since the Talmud was not written until after the whole of the biblical canon (begun 70 CE, completed approx 500 CE). Other congregations are selective in their applications of Talmudic law. Still others encourage a serious observance of Jewish halakha.
Messianic Jews generally consider the entire Christian Bible to be sacred scripture. Theologian David H. Stern in his "Jewish New Testament Commentary" argues that the writings and teachings of Paul are fully congruent with Messianic Judaism, and that the New Testament is to be taken by Messianic Jews as the inspired Word of God. This is the mainstream view within the movement, although—as with many religions—there are several schools of thought. Very few Messianic believers are troubled by the writings of Paul and may reject his writings, holding them in less esteem than those of the Gospel writers.
There are a number of Messianic commentaries on various books of the Bible, both Tanakh and New Testament texts, such as Matthew, Acts, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. David H. Stern has released a one-volume Jewish New Testament Commentary, providing explanatory notes from a Messianic Jewish point of view. Other noted New Testament commentary authors include: Joseph Shulam, who has written commentaries on Acts, Romans, and Galatians; Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries, who has written commentaries on the Epistles, Judges & Ruth, and Genesis, and 7 systematic doctrinal studies; Tim Hegg of TorahResource, who has written commentaries on Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and is presently examining Matthew; Daniel Thomas Lancaster, who has written extensively for the First Fruits of Zion Torah Club series; Stuart Sacks, author of Hebrews Through a Hebrews' Eyes; and J.K. McKee of TNN Online who has written several volumes under the byline "for the Practical Messianic" (James, Hebrews, Philippians, Galatians, and surveys of both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Scriptures).
Attitudes toward Paul
Messianic Jews understand (as suggested by some recent scholars) that Paul the Apostle (who is often referred to as Sha’ul, his Hebrew name) remained a Jewish Pharisee even as a believer until his death (see Paul of Tarsus and Judaism). This is based on Acts 23:6, detailing events after Paul's acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question."
Messianic believers cite the cutting off of Paul’s hair at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken (Acts 18:18), references in passing to him observing the Jewish holidays, and his consistent good standing with his Rabbinic master Gamaliel, to show that he was wholly in continued observance of the laws and traditions of Judaism. They maintain that Paul never set out to polarize the gospel between faith and righteous works, but that one is necessary to maintain the other. The New Perspective on Paul is important in Messianic Judaism.
Sin and atonement
Messianic believers define sin as transgression of the Torah (Law/Instruction) of God (1 John 3: 4–5). Messianics hold to a belief that all sin (whether committed yet or not) is already atoned for because of Jesus's death and resurrection.
Evangelism and attitudes toward Jews and Israel
Messianic Jews believe God's people have a responsibility to spread his name and fame to all nations (Psalms 96:3, Ezekiel 3:18–19) It is believed that the Children of Israel were, remain, and will continue to be the chosen people of the God, and are central to his plans for existence. Most Messianic believers, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, can be said to oppose supersessionism (popularly referred to as replacement theology), the view that the Church has replaced Israel in the mind and plans of God.
There exist among Messianic believers a number of perspectives regarding who exactly makes up God's chosen people. Most commonly, Israel is seen as distinct from the church; Messianic Jews, being a part of both Israel and the church, are seen as the necessary link between the 'gentile' People of God and the commonwealth of God's people of Israel. The two-house view, and the one law/grafted-in view are held by many identifying as Messianic, although some Messianic groups do not espouse these theologies.
According to the Messianic group Jerusalem Council, "the people of Israel are members of the covenant HaShem made with Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya'akov. Covenant membership is extended to converts to Judaism from the nations, as well as to the descendants of covenant members. Israel is a nation of nations and their descendants, or more specifically a people group called out from other people groups to be a people separated unto HaShem for his purposes. HaShem's promise of covenantal blessings and curses as described in the Torah are unique to Am Yisrael (People of Israel), and to no other nation or people group. The bible describes an Israelite as one descended from Ya'akov ben Yitzhak ben Avraham, or one who has been converted or adopted into that group by either human or spiritual means." 
According to certain branches of Messianic Judaism, Jews are individual who have one or more Jewish parents, or who have undergone halakhic conversion to Judaism. As in Reform Judaism, those who have Jewish fathers but gentile mothers are considered Jewish only if the individual claims Jewish identity. The statement of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council on Jewish identity is often disputed among Messianic believers who either don't find it necessary or discourage halakhic conversion, in accordance with their interpretation of Romans 2:29 (that a "Jew" is not one who is one "outwardly" but is one who is a Jew in his heart). They also believe that salvation is received by accepting Jesus into one's heart and confessing that he is Lord.
Messianic believers from the nations are also considered a part of the People of God. Depending on their status within various Messianic Jewish groups, such as the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, an allowance for formal conversion is made based on their understanding that Messianic converts are not automatically considered Jewish. The reasoning for this variance is as follows: While Titus may have been the norm in the epistles, a Gentile not converted to Judaism, Paul nevertheless made an exception for Timothy, whom he circumcised and brought under the Covenant, probably because though Timothy's father was Greek, his mother was Jewish. According to the statement of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council regarding Conversion, converts to Judaism do not in any way have a higher status within Messianic Judaism than the Messianic believers who are considered by the UMJC to still be gentiles who are attached to their communities.
One Law theology
One Law theology teaches that anyone who is a part of Israel is obligated to observe the Covenant and its provisions as outlined in the Torah. Dan Juster of Tikkun, and Russ Resnik of the UMJC, have argued against the One Law movement's insistence on Gentiles being required to observe the entirety of Torah in the same way as Jews. Tim Hegg responded to their article defending what he believes to be the biblical teaching of "One Law" theology and its implications concerning the obligations of Torah obedience by new Messianic believers from the nations.
Two House theology
Proponents of Two House theology espouse their belief that the phrase "House of Judah" in scripture refers to Jews, while "the House of Israel" refers to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, or Ephraim. Where scripture states the House of Israel and Judah will again be "one stick" (Ezekiel 37:15–23), it is believed to be referring to the End Times, immediately prior to the Second Coming, when many of those descended from Israel will come back to Israel. Advocates of this theology postulate that the reason so many "gentiles" are converting to Messianic Judaism is that the vast majority of them are truly Israelites. Like One Law groups, the Two House movement has many superficial similarities to Messianic Judaism, such as their belief in the ongoing validity of the Mosaic Covenant. While much of the Two House teaching is based on interpretations of Biblical prophecy, the biggest disagreements are due to inability to identify the genealogy of the Lost Tribes. Organizations such as the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations have explicitly opposed the Two House teachingand it continues to be a sensitive issue among Messianic congregations.
Historically, Christianity has taught supersessionism (replacement theology), which implies or outright states that Christianity has superseded Judaism, and that the Mosaic Covenant of the Hebrew Bible has been superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus, wherein salvation is brought about by the grace of God, and not by obedience to the Torah. This is generally complemented with the concept of God having transferred the status of "God's people" from the Jews to the Christian Church. Messianic Jews, in varying degrees, challenge both thoughts, and instead believing that although Israel has rejected Jesus, it has not forfeited its status as God's chosen people (Matthew 5:17). Often cited is Romans 11:29: "for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable". The core of supersessionism, in which the Mosaic Covenant is canceled, is less agreed upon. Though the mitzvot may or may not be seen as necessary, most are still followed, especially the keeping of Shabbat and other holy days. Some followers of the movement believe that Jews can still find favor with God through the Torah without accepting Jesus, as did Moses, David, and the Prophets.
Some Messianic Jews believe that all of the Jewish holidays, and indeed the entire Torah, intrinsically hint at the Messiah, and thus no study of the End Times is complete without understanding the major Jewish Festivals in their larger prophetic context. To certain believers, the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot were fulfilled in Jesus's first coming, and Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot will be at his second. Some also believe in a literal 7000-year period for the human history of the world, with a Millennial Messianic kingdom prior to a final judgment.[dead link]
There is a variety of practice within Messianic Judaism regarding the strictness of Torah observance. Generally, "Torah observant" congregations observe Jewish Law, biblical feasts, and Sabbath. While most traditional Christians deny that the ritual laws and specific civil laws of the Pentateuch apply to gentiles, certain passages regarding Torah observance in the New Testament are cited by Messianic believers as proof that Torah was not abolished for Jews. They point out that in Acts 21 Jewish believers in Jerusalem are described as "zealous for the Law", and that Paul himself never stopped being observant.
Sabbath and holiday observances
Worship services are generally held on Friday evenings (Erev Shabbat) or Saturday mornings. According to the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship (SBMF), services are held on Saturday to "open the doors to Jewish people who also wish to keep the Sabbath". The liturgy used is similar to that of a Jewish siddur with some important differences including the omission of "salvation by works" as the Messianic belief is Salvation through Jesus. According to the SBMF, the main purpose in using a liturgy similar to a Jewish siddur is to bring others to Jesus. Other branches of the movement have attempted to "eliminate the elements of Christian worship that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots".
The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council recommends the observance of Jewish holidays. Most larger Messianic Jewish congregations follow Jewish custom in celebrating the three biblical feasts (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot), as well as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.
The observance of the kashrut dietary laws is a subject of continued debate among Messianic Jews. Some Messianic believers keep kosher purely for the purposes of evangelism to Jewish people. Most avoid pork and shellfish, but there is disagreement on more strict adherence to kosher dietary laws.
Conversion to Messianic Judaism
Messianic perspectives on "Who is a Jew" vary. The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, (West Haven, Connecticut, 2006) a global Messianic body, acknowledges a Jew as one born to a Jewish mother, or who has converted to Judaism. Copying from the Reform stream of Judaism, the Council also recognizes as a Jew one who was born to a Jewish father (but not a Jewish mother) on the condition that the family of the child (or the individual as an adult) has undertaken public and formal acts of identification of the individual with the Jewish faith and people.
Large numbers of those calling themselves Messianic Jews are not of Jewish descent, but join the movement anyway as they "enjoy the Messianic Jewish style of worship". The MJAA views conversion for Gentiles an unbiblical practice, but accepts gentiles into their congregations, and other Messianic organizations hold to similar views.
Some within the Ephraimite movement seek to convert themselves for identification with Israel, but most Messianic governing bodies acknowledge the presence of gentiles in the congregations, and do not see a need for them to convert to worship in the Messianic style and understanding. When conversion is sincerely desired by a gentile Messianic believer, Messianic Jewish halachic standards (including circumcision) are imposed to maintain integrity among the world Messianic Jewish community.
Use of Hebrew names and vocabulary in English
The movement generally avoids common Christian terms, such as Christ and cross (tsalav—צלב), and prefers to maximise the use of Hebrew terms. Messianic Jews take the opposite approach from the Sacred Name Movement regarding the name of God. The transliterated name "Yahweh" is rarely used, nor the New Testament "Lord", but "HaShem" (Hebrew השם, "the name"). Messianic Jews take a similar approach as the Sacred Name Movement for the name "Yeshua".
Messianic Jewish hymnologies are not merely Christian evangelical ones. Many of the hymns relate to Israel’s role in history, convey a messianic hope, and refer to Jesus as the Savior of Israel. In addition, small changes differentiate them from the usual contemporary evangelical hymns, such as the use of the name Yeshua instead of Jesus. Messianic hymnals also include a large number of Israeli songs.
The movement also has several recording artists who consider their music to be Messianic in message, such as Joel Chernoff of the duo Lamb, Paul Wilbur, Marty Goetz, Ted Pearce and Chuck King. Many of these artists have been influenced by Jewish music and often incorporate Hebrew phrases into their lyrics.
Reception of the Messianic Judaism movement
Reception among mainstream Christianity
In the United States, the emergence of the Messianic Jewish movement created some stresses with other Jewish-Christian and missionary organization. In 1975, the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews condemned several aspects of the Messianic Jewish movement.
In Israel, the linguistic distinction between Messianic Jews and mainstream Christians is less clear, and the name "Messianic" (Meshiyhiy משיחי) is commonly used by churches anyway, in lieu of Notsri (Hebrew: נוצרי), the secular government administrative term for "Christian". The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church, based at Christ Church, Jerusalem, an organization that is ecumenical in outlook and operates an interfaith school in Jerusalem, gives some social support to Messianic Jews in Israel.
As in traditional Jewish objections to Christian theology, opponents of Messianic Judaism hold that Christian proof texts, such as prophecies in the Hebrew Bible purported to refer the Messiah's suffering and death, have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. Jewish theology rejects the idea that the Messiah, or any human being, is a divinity. Belief in the Trinity is considered idolatrous by most rabbinic authorities, though there is a minority view that it constitutes shituf (literally, "partnership"), an association of other individuals with the God of Israel. While shituf is, according to some opinions, permitted for gentiles, it is considered idolatrous for Jews. Further, Judaism does not view the role of the Messiah to be the salvation of the world from its sins, an integral teaching of Christianity.
Jewish opponents of Messianic Judaism often focus their criticism on the movement's radical ideological separation from traditional Jewish beliefs, stating that the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah creates an insuperable divide between the traditional messianic expectations of Judaism, and Christianity's theological claims. They state that while Judaism is a messianic religion, its messiah is not Jesus, and thus the term is misleading. All denominations of Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations, reject Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism. Regarding this divide, Reconstructionist Rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro observed:
"To embrace the radiocative core of goyishness—Jesus—violates the final taboo of Jewishness[.] ... Belief in Jesus as Messiah is not simply a heretical belief, as it may have been in the first century; it has become the equivalent to an act of ethno-cultural suicide."
B'nai Brith Canada considers messianic activities as antisemitic incidents. Rabbi Tovia Singer, founder of the anti-missionary organization Outreach Judaism, noted of a Messianic rabbi in Toledo: "He’s not running a Jewish synagogue ... It’s a church designed to appear as if it were a synagogue and I’m there to expose him. What these irresponsible extremist Christians do is a form of consumer fraud. They blur the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity in order to lure Jewish people who would otherwise resist a straightforward message."
Messianic Jews are considered eligible for the State of Israel's Law of Return only if they can also claim Jewish descent. An assistant to one of the two lawyers involved with an April 2008 Supreme Court of Israel case explained to the Jerusalem Post that Messianic Jews who are not Jewish according to Jewish law, but who had sufficient Jewish descent to qualify under the Law of Return, could claim automatic new immigrant status and citizenship despite being Messianic. The state of Israel grants Aliyah (right of return) and citizenship to Jews, and to those with Jewish parents or grandparents who are not considered Jews according to halakha, e.g. people who have a Jewish father but a non-Jewish mother. The old law had excluded any “person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion,” and an Israeli Supreme Court decision in 1989 had ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion. However, on April 16, 2008, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in a case brought by a number of Messianic Jews with Jewish fathers and grandfathers. Their applications for Aliyah had been rejected on the grounds that they were Messianic Jews. The argument was made by the applicants that they had never been Jews according to halakha, and were not therefore excluded by the conversion clause. This argument was upheld in the ruling.
The International Religious Freedom Report 2008, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the US states that discrimination against Messianic Jews in Israel is increasing. Some acts of violence have also occurred such as incident on March 20, 2008, a bomb concealed as a Purim gift basket was delivered to the house of a prominent Messianic Jewish family in Ariel, in the West Bank, which severely wounded the son. The bombing was eventually traced to Yaakov "Jack" Teitel, an "alleged Jewish terrorist" who immigrated to Israel from the United States has been arrested in connection with several bombings, murders and attempted murders in Israel.
This antagonism has led to harassment and some violence, especially in Israel, where there is a large and militant Orthodox community. Several Orthodox organizations, including Yad L'Achim, are dedicated to rooting out missionary activity in Israel, including the Messianic Jewish congregations. One tactic is to plaster posters asking Israelis to boycott shops where Messianic Jews are owners or employees; another is to report Messianic Jews to the Interior ministry, which is charged with enforcing an Israeli law forbidding proselytizing. In another incident, the mayor of Or Yehuda, a suburb of Tel Aviv, held a public book-burning of literature passed out to Ethiopian immigrants. He later apologized for the action.
Response of US governments
The US Navy made a decision that Messianic Jewish chaplains must wear as their insignia the Christian cross, and not the tablets of the law, the insignia of Jewish chaplains. According to Yeshiva World News, a website covering stories of Jewish interest, the Navy Uniform Board commanded that Michael Hiles, a candidate for chaplaincy, wear the Christian insignia. Hiles resigned from the program, rather than wear the cross. Rabbi Eric Tokajer, a spokesman for the Messianic Jewish movement, responded that "This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system."
A Birmingham, Alabama's police employee's religious discrimination case was settled in her favor. She filed suit over having to work on Jewish Sabbath.
Union of Conservative Messianic Synagogues (UCMJS).
The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS).
HaYesod ("the foundation") is a discipleship course that respectfully explores the Jewish foundation of Christianity. There are currently 259 HaYesod study groups of 5 or more members.
The Jerusalem Council, an organization seeking to become a ruling council for Messianic believers worldwide. It is in the process of publishing a set of Messianic halakha that the "majority of orthodox Messianic Jews accept".
The Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council, many of whose members are affiliated with the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, has published its standards of Messianic Torah observance.
Organizations sympathetic to Messianic Judaism which remain outside the mainstream Messianic movement:
Jews for Jesus is an evangelizing organization that does not create or sponsor Messianic congregations.
^ abFeher, Shoshanah. Passing over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, Rowman Altamira, 1998, ISBN 978-0-7619-8953-0, p. 140. "This interest in developing a Jewish ethnic identity may not be surprising when we consider the 1960s, when Messianic Judaism arose."
^ abMelton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8160-5456-5, p. 373. "Messianic Judaism is a Protestant movement that emerged in the last half of the 20th century among believers who were ethnically Jewish but had adopted an Evangelical Christian faith... By the 1960s, a new effort to create a culturally Jewish Protestant Christianity emerged among individuals who began to call themselves Messianic Jews."
^Lewis, James R. (2001). Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy. Prometheus Books. p. 179. ISBN978-1-57392-842-7. "The origins of Messianic Judaism date to the 1960s when it began among American Jews who converted to Christianity."
^Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2010). "Modern Jewish Movements". Judaism Today. London; New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 100. ISBN9780826422316. LCCN2009045430. "In the 1970s a number of American Jewish converts to Christianity, known as Hebrew Christians, were committed to a church-based conception of Hebrew Christianity. Yet, at the same time, there emerged a growing segment of the Hebrew Christian community that sought a more Jewish lifestyle. Eventually, a division emerged between those who wished to identify as Jews and those who sought to pursue Hebrew Christian goals.…In time, the name of the movement was changed to Messianic Judaism."
^Şenay, Bülent. "Messianic Judaism/Jewish Christianity". Overview of World Religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Cumbria. Retrieved May 14, 2012. "Hebrew Christians are quite happy to be integrated into local Christian churches, but Messianic Jews seek an 'indigenous' expression of theology, worship and lifestyle within the whole church. The latter group emerged in the 1960s when some Christian Jews adopted the name Messianic Jews…"
^ abc"What are the Standards of the UMJC?". FAQ. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. June 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2010. "1. We believe that there is one G-d, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 2. We believe in the deity of the L-RD Yeshua, the Messiah, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory."
^"Our Beliefs". Memphis, Tennessee: B'rit Hadasha Messianic Jewish Synagogue. 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2010. "WE BELIEVE:… *There is one God as declared in the Shema [Deuteronomy 6:4], who is “Echad,” a compound unity, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit [Isaiah 48:16-17; Ephesians 4:4-6]. *In the Deity of our Lord, Messiah Yeshua, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His personal future return to this earth in power and glory to rule."
^ abcIsrael b. Betzalel (2009). "Trinitarianism". JerusalemCouncil.org. Retrieved 2009-07-03. "This then is who Yeshua is: He is not just a man, and as a man, he is not from Adam, but from God. He is the Word of HaShem, the Memra, the Davar, the Righteous One, he didn’t become righteous, he is righteous. He is called God’s Son, he is the agent of HaShem called HaShem, and he is “HaShem” who we interact with and not die."
^ ab"Do I need to be Circumcised?". JerusalemCouncil.org. Feb 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010. "To convert to the Jewish sect of HaDerech, accepting Yeshua as your King is the first act after one’s heart turns toward HaShem and His Torah – as one can not obey a commandment of God if they first do not love God, and we love God by following his Messiah. Without first accepting Yeshua as the King and thus obeying Him, then getting circumcised for the purpose of Jewish conversion only gains you access to the Jewish community. It means nothing when it comes to inheriting a place in the World to Come.…Getting circumcised apart from desiring to be obedient to HaShem, and apart from accepting Yeshua as your King, is nothing but a surgical procedure, or worse, could lead to you believe that Jewish identity grants you a portion in the World to Come – at which point, what good is Messiah Yeshua, the Word of HaShem to you? He would have died for nothing!…As a convert from the nations, part of your obligation in keeping the Covenant, if you are a male, is to get circumcised in fulfillment of the commandment regarding circumcision. Circumcision is not an absolute requirement of being a Covenant member (that is, being made righteous before HaShem, and thus obtaining eternal life), but it is a requirement of obedience to God’s commandments, because circumcision is commanded for those who are of the seed of Abraham, whether born into the family, adopted, or converted.…If after reading all of this you understand what circumcision is, and that is an act of obedience, rather than an act of gaining favor before HaShem for the purpose of receiving eternal life, then if you are male believer in Yeshua the Messiah for the redemption from death, the consequence of your sin of rebellion against Him, then pursue circumcision, and thus conversion into Judaism, as an act of obedience to the Messiah."Check date values in: |year= (help)
Harries, Richard (August 2003). "Should Christians Try to Convert Jews?". After the evil: Christianity and Judaism in the shadow of the Holocaust. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. g. 119. ISBN0-19-926313-2. LCCN2003273342. "Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah.…They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity."
Kessler, Edward (2005). "Messianic Jews" (GoogleBooks). In Kessler, Edward; Wenborn, Neil. A Dictionary Of Jewish-Christian Relations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 292–293. ISBN9780521826921. LCCN2005012923. OCLC60340826. Retrieved November 2, 2011. "Messianic Judaism is proactive in seeking Jewish converts and is condemned by the vast majority of the Jewish community. Although a Jewish convert to Christianity may still be categorised a Jew according to a strict interpretation of the halakhah (Jewish law), most Jews are adamantly opposed to the idea that one can convert to Christianity and still remain a Jew or be considered part of Jewish life. From a mainstream Christian perspective Messianic Judaisms can also provoke hostility for misrepresenting Christianity."
Stetzer, Ed (October 13, 2005). "A Missional Church", The Christian Index. "Missional churches are indigenous. Churches that are indigenous have taken root in the soil and reflect, to some degree, the culture of their community... The messianic congregation (is)... in this case indigenous to Jewish culture."
Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews". United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Archived from the original on June 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Hebrew Christian, Jewish Christian, Jew for Jesus, Messianic Jew, Fulfilled Jew. The name may have changed over the course of time, but all of the names reflect the same phenomenon: one who asserts that s/he is straddling the theological fence between Christianity and Judaism, but in truth is firmly on the Christian side.…we must affirm as did the Israeli Supreme Court in the well-known Brother Daniel case that to adopt Christianity is to have crossed the line out of the Jewish community."
"Missionary Impossible". Hebrew Union College. August 9, 1999. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Missionary Impossible, an imaginative video and curriculum guide for teachers, educators, and rabbis to teach Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to "Jews-for-Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and other Christian proselytizers, has been produced by six rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Cincinnati School. The students created the video as a tool for teaching why Jewish college and high school youth and Jews in intermarried couples are primary targets of Christian missionaries."
"FAQ's About Jewish Renewal". Aleph.org. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-20. "What is ALEPH's position on so called messianic Judaism? ALEPH has a policy of respect for other spiritual traditions, but objects to deceptive practices and will not collaborate with denominations which actively target Jews for recruitment. Our position on so-called "Messianic Judaism" is that it is Christianity and its proponents would be more honest to call it that."
^ ab"Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Ask the Rabbi. Jerusalem: Ohr Somayach. 2000. Retrieved July 28, 2010. "The Christian idea of a trinity contradicts the most basic tenet of Judaism – that G-d is One. Jews have declared their belief in a single unified G-d twice daily ever since the giving of the Torah at Sinai – almost two thousand years before Christianity. The trinity suggests a three part deity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god is considered idolatry; one of the three cardinal sins for which a person should rather give up his life than transgress. The idea of the trinity is absolutely incompatible with Judaism."
^ abLotker, Michael (May 2004). "It’s More About What is the Messiah than Who is the Messiah". A Christian’s guide to Judaism. New York, New York: Paulist Press. pp. g. 35. ISBN0-8091-4232-5. LCCN2003024813. "It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with ‘Jews for Jesus’ or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian."
"Jewish Conversion – Giyur". JerusalemCouncil.org. JerusalemCouncil.org. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-05. "We recognize the desire of people from the nations to convert to Judaism, through HaDerech (The Way)(Messianic Judaism), a sect of Judaism."
^ abBerman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus". Haaretz. Retrieved August 9, 2010. "In rejecting their petition, Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon cited their belief in Jesus. ‘In the last two thousand years of history…the Jewish people have decided that messianic Jews do not belong to the Jewish nation…and have no right to force themselves on it,’ he wrote, concluding that ‘those who believe in Jesus, are, in fact Christians.’"
^Schoeman, Roy H. (2003). Salvation is from the Jews: the role of Judaism in salvation history from Abraham to the Second Coming. San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press. p. 351. ISBN0-89870-975-X. LCCN2003105176. "By the mid 1970s, Time magazine placed the number of Messianic Jews in the U.S. at over 50,000; by 1993 this number had grown to 160,000 in the U.S. and about 350,000 worldwide (1989 estimate).…There are currently over 400 Messianic synagogues worldwide, with at least 150 in the U.S."
^John James Moscrop. Measuring Jerusalem: the Palestine Exploration Fund and British ... p15 2000 "the perspective of the Holy Land the most important of these societies was the London Jews' Society. Founded in 1809 during the high point of evangelical endeavour, the London Jews' Society was the work of Joseph Samuel Frederick Frey , ..."
^Yiddish language & culture then & now "The first Yiddish New Testament distributed by the BFBS was published by the London Jews Society in 1821; the translator was Benjamin Nehemiah Solomon, "a convert from Judaism, who [had come] over to England from Poland."
^Carl Schwartz The Scattered nation 5 p16 1870 "What does the Hebrew-Christian Alliance signify? is asked by well-wishers and opponents. True, its objects have been clearly stated from the ... Let me try briefly to state the nature and objects of the Hebrew-Christian Alliance."
^Jewish Journal of Sociology Volumes 9-10 World Jewish Congress 1967 "It was on 9 September 1813 that a group of forty-one Jewish converts to Christianity met in London setting forth ... ... Thus, in 1813, Hebrew Christianity was born in England through the efforts of a group of converts calling themselves the Beni Abraham, or Sons of Abraham. This group was followed by a number of others variously known as the Episcopal Jew's Chapel Abrahamic Society (1835), the Hebrew Christian Union (1865), and the Hebrew Christian Prayer Union (1882)."
^William Thomas Gidney The history of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews 1908 "As regards missionary work in London during this period we find that the lectures to the Jews and also to ... The Jews' Chapel, Spitalfields, had to be given up in 1816, as the minister refused his consent to its being licensed as a place of worship of the Church of England. Frey's connexion with the Society ceased in the same year.
^The Missionary review of the world No.35 Royal Gould Wilder, Delavan Leonard Pierson, James Manning Sherwood - 1912 "The letter to Joseph Rabinowitz brought an encouraging answer and also a few copies of the New Testament translated into Hebrew by Franz Delitzsch. They gave Scheinmann the thought to organize a class of young men for their study"
^ abRausch, David A. (September 1982). "The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement". The Christian Century99 (28): 926. "As I interviewed their leaders across the United States, I found a prevalent belief that they had coined the term “Messianic Judaism.” Others thought that the term had originated within the past ten or 20 years. Most of their opponents also agreed that this was so. In fact, both the term “Messianic Judaism” and the frustration with the movement go back to the 19th century. During 1895 Our Hope magazine, which became a bulwark in the fundamentalist-evangelical movement under the editorship of Arno C. Gaebelein, carried the subtitle “A Monthly Devoted to the Study of Prophecy and to Messianic Judaism.”"
^Peter Hocken The challenges of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Messianic ... 2009 Page 100 "The new thrust that turned Hebrew Christians into Messianic Jews was distinctly charismatic. This reflected the influence of the Jesus movement. However the Evangelical missions to the Jews were and remained non-charismatic."
^Rausch, David A. (September 1982). "The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement". The Christian Century99 (28): 926. "It is fascinating that the movement would arise in the American branch of the Hebrew Christian Alliance (HCAA), an organization that has consistently assuaged the fears of fundamentalist Christians by emphasizing that it is not a separate denomination but only an evangelistic arm of the evangelical church. The organization’s Quarterly, however, reveals that the tension between the Messianic Jewish movement and the Hebrew Christian movement had always been present. After the inception of the HCAA in 1915, the first major controversy was over an “old” heresy -- and the “heretical” dogma that was being proposed was Messianic Judaism. The controversy could have split the organization asunder during that period but for a strong united effort against Messianic Judaism."
^Kinzer, Mark (Summer 2010). "Finding Our Way Through Nicaea: The Deity of Yeshua, Bilateral Ecclesiology, and Redemptive Encounter with the Living God". Kesher: A Journal of Messianic Judaism (24). Retrieved May 29, 2012. "Paul likely uses the term Kyrios here as a Greek substitute for both the tetragram- maton and the Hebrew word Adonai (“My lord”), which in Jewish practice acts as its surrogate. In this way he builds upon the most fundamental biblical confession of faith, the Shema, highlighting the two primary divine names (Theos/Elohim and Kyrios/Adonai) and the word “one.” Paul thus expands the Shema to include Yeshua within a differentiated but singular deity. The nicene Creed adopts Paul’s language ("one God, the Father…one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah…"), and thereby affirms its own continuity with the Shema. Paul's short confession is a Yeshua-faith interpretation of the Shema, and the nicene Creed is an expanded interpretation of Paul's confession."
^Kerstetter, Adam Yisroel (2007). "Who Do You Say That I Am? An introduction to the true Messiah from a non-Trinitarian view.". Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2010. "The material presented below has been researched to great lengths and is based totally on the Scriptures. I have examined both sides of the subject and can assure you that I have no ax to grind, but have found that the information on the Trinity is without any foundation, nor is it supported by the language of the Scripture. Let me state that I believe in our Heavenly Father and in his Son Y’shua (Jesus) and that the Father sent Y’shua to be a way back to Him and a means for our salvation, but I do not believe the Scripture supports the idea of the Moshiach (Messiah) being G-d of very G-d. When wrong ideas of the Mashiach are espoused they put us on the course of misinterpretations and a misconception of who our Mashiach and his Heavenly Father are. These misconceptions and misinterpretations lead us further away from the truth and ultimately further away from the Father who is the only true G-d."
^Nadler, Sam (October 19, 2011). "How Can a Man Become God?". Charlotte, North Carolina: Word of Messiah Ministries. Retrieved May 29, 2012. "Micah the prophet not only gives further detail about His Divine Nature, but also specifically where He would be born. “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, little among the thousands of Judah, out of you will go forth for Me, one who will be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from days of eternity” (Micah 5:2-v.1 in the Hebrew text). Micah clearly states that Israel’s Ruler would not only be “born”, in Bethlehem, but his “goings forth” would be from eternity (olam). That is, He who would be born in Bethlehem is God, the Eternal One!"
^"Doctrinal Statement". Lev HaShem Messianic Synagogue. 2004. Retrieved August 17, 2010. "We believe that Yeshua HaMashiach is the Jewish Messiah. "Therefore, the L-rd Himself will give you a sign: the virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel (G-d with us)". Yeshayahu 7:14. We believe in His virgin birth conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh. We do not believe that a man can become G-d. "For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us, dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name PELE-YOETZ, EL GIBBOR, AVI-AD SAR SHALOM (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty G-d, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace)" Yeshayahu 9:6–7. "That in honor of HaShem (the Name), Yeshua took the form of humanity and that G-d has given Him the name above every name". Philippians 2:6–11"
^Berkley, George E. (February 1997). "And Collapse…and Collapse". Jews. Boston, Massachusetts: Branden Books. pp. g. 129. ISBN0-8283-2027-6. LCCN9647021. "A more rapidly growing organization [than Jews for Jesus] is the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America which seeks to incorporate many of the trappings of Judaism with the tenets of Christianity. Its congregants assemble on Friday evening and Saturday morning, recite Hebrew prayers, and sometimes even wear talliot (prayer shawls). But they worship not just God but Jesus, whom they call Yeshua."
^"Messianic Beliefs". Beit Simcha. 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012. "To study the whole and authoritative Word of God, including the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B'rit Chadasha (New Covenant) under the leading of the Holy Spirit"
^"Halakah and Messianic Judaism". Standards of Observance. New Haven, Connecticut: Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2012. "Within Tanakh, Jewish tradition has always regarded the Torah (the Pentateuch) as possessing unique authority in the development of Halakhah. While the Prophets and the Writings amplify and clarify the intent of the Torah, the Torah is always foundational in matters of Halakhah. In addition to Tanakh, we as Messianic Jews have another authoritative source for the making of halakhic decisions: the Apostolic Writings.…In addition, the Book of Acts and the Apostolic Letters provide crucial halakhic guidance for us in our lives as Messianic Jews.…They also provide guidelines relevant to other areas of Messianic Jewish Halakhah, including (but not restricted to) areas such as distinctive Messianic rites, household relationships, and dealing with secular authorities.…As Messianic Jews we affirm the special precedence given to Scriptural law in Rabbinic Halakhah. However, we also affirm the Scriptural character of the Apostolic Writings. While the Torah is foundational in relation to the teaching of Yeshua and the Shelichim (Apostles), the writings that record that teaching (the New Covenant Scripture) are also inspired, and they offer us an entirely reliable guide to the meaning and intent of the Mosaic Torah."
^"Defining the Old and New Covenant". The Jerusalem Council. February 10, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2012. "The Torah is the full description of the Messiah, Yeshua ben Yosef mi’Netzaret. Thus by implication, and often by reference, the Torah of G-d (which he gave to Moses) is the Messiah, who is the Word of HaShem. Since the Torah is the Messiah in this sense that he is the Word of HaShem, then it is rightly said that he is also the Covenant G-d makes with all men.…When G-d makes his Covenant with us as sinners, which was made on that day with all who where “there” and “not there” in Deuteronomy 29:14-15, our inclination to sin caused us to break it the moment we sinned (and all have sinned in Adam). So then when G-d renews his Covenant with us (as a new regenerated man alive to the Messiah, the Torah) it is therefore to us, renewed, and to the new man (that is, we who are the righteous in Messiah) it is “new.” Thus that is why it is called a “new” or “renewed” Covenant.…Brit Chadashah = Covenant Renewed"
^"Essential Statement of Faith". The Harvest: A Messianic Charismatic Congregation. 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2012. "We believe that the Torah (five books of Moses) is a comprehensive summary of God's foundational laws and ways, as found in both the Tanakh and Apostolic Scriptures. Additionally, the Bible teaches that without holiness no man can see God. We believe in the Doctrine of Sanctification as a definite, yet progressive work of grace, commencing at the time of regeneration and continuing until the consummation of salvation. Therefore we encourage all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, to affirm, embrace, and practice these foundational laws and ways as clarified through the teachings of Messiah Yeshua."
^ abc"So, What Exactly is a Messianic Congregation?". RabbiYeshua.com. Kehilat Sar Shalom. 2001. Retrieved 2007-02-20. "When we begin to study and observe Torah to become like Messiah, there are pitfalls we must avoid. One such pitfall is the study of Mishnah and Talmud (Rabbinic traditional Law). There are many people and congregations that place a great emphasis on rabbinic legal works, such as the Mishnah and the Talmud in search of their Hebrew roots. People are looking to the rabbis for answers on how to keep God’s commands, but if one looks into the Mishnah and does what it says, he or she is not a follower of the Messiah. Or, if one looks into the Talmud and does what it says, he or she is not a follower of the Messiah – he or she is a follower of the rabbis because Rabbi Yeshua, the Messiah, is not quoted there.…Rabbinic Judaism is not Messianic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism is not founded in Messiah. Rabbinic Judaism, for the most part, is founded in the yeast – the teachings of the Pharisees. Yeshua’s teachings and the discipleship that He brought His students through was not Rabbinic Judaism. There is a real danger in Rabbinics. There is a real danger in Mishnah and Talmud. No one involved in Rabbinics has ever come out on the other side more righteous than when he or she entered. He or she may look “holier than thou” – but they do not have the life changing experience clearly represented in the lives of the believers of the Messianic communities of the first century."
^Bernay, Adam J. (December 3, 2007). "Who we are". Beit-tefillah.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2007-12-20. ""Orthodox Messianic" groups (they go by many names) teach that you must keep the commandments in order to be saved, and not just the commandments in the Scripture, but the traditional rules as coined by Judaism since the Temple was destroyed... essentially, they teach that we must keep Orthodox Judaism, but with the addition of Yeshua. We do NOT teach this in any way, shape, or form. Some of the traditions are right and good, and in keeping with the commandments. Others are not. Only by studying to show ourselves approved of God can we rightly divide the word of truth and discover how God calls us to live."
^"Authoritative Sources in Halakhic Decision Making". Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. ourrabbis.org. 2007. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "In Jewish tradition as a whole, Scripture is of paramount importance and authority in the development of Halakhah. In principle, issues become "Halakhic" because they are connected to some area of life in which Scripture reveals certain authoritative norms. In addressing those issues, Scripture is not the only resource consulted. However, it is always the source of greatest sanctity. Thus, when Rabbinic literature distinguishes between laws that are d'oraita (biblically mandated) and those that are d'rabbanan (rabbinically mandated), precedence is always given to those that are d'oraita."
^"In Search of Messianic Jewish Thought". GoogleCache. GoogleCache. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "John Fischer affirms that Yeshua himself supported the traditions of the Pharisees which were very close to what later became rabbinic halacha. Messianic Jews today should not only take note of rabbinic tradition but incorporate it into Messianic Jewish halachah. The biblical pattern for Fischer is that "Yeshua, the Apostles, and the early Messianic Jews all deeply respected the traditions and devoutly observed them, and in so doing, set a useful pattern for us to follow". Citing Fischer, John, "Would Yeshua Support Halacha?" in Kesher: A Journal of Messianic Judaism, Albuquerque, New Mexico: UMJC, 1997, pp. 51–81."
^Brad H. Young (1997). Paul the Jewish Theologian: A Pharisee among Christians, Jews, and Gentiles. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 1. ISBN1-56563-248-6. "Paul calls himself a Pharisee. We should listen to what Paul tells us about himself. In fact, there is no evidence anywhere in the New Testament, that he departed from his firm convictions as a Pharisee. [Note that others cite I Cor. 9:20–21 as evidence that he no longer strictly followed the Torah and as explaining why he sometimes did so in front of his fellow Jews.]"
^"Statement of Faith". Kehilat T'Nuvah. graftedin.com. 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-07. "Just as the prophet Isaiah foretold (Isa. 56), Yahweh is gathering many from the nations to those whom He already gathered (Israel). Together these individuals comprise the universal church (covenant community of Yahweh). These Jews and Gentiles in Messiah collectively are called Israel throughout the Scriptures. There is no other "church" or covenant community; just one new man, one torah, one Messiah, one Spirit, one God."
^"Who Is A Jew? Messianic Style". Chaia Kravitz. MessianicJewishOnline.com. 2007. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23. "In Messianic Judaism, children are generally regarded as being Jewish with one Jewish parent. Since we are one in Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, there is not sharp division between the two groups. Therefore, if a Gentile has a heart for Israel and God's Torah, as well as being a Believer in Yeshua, and this person marries a Jewish Believer, it is not considered an "intermarriage" in the same way Rabbinic Judaism sees it, since both partners are on the same spiritual plane. Children born from this union are part of God's Chosen, just like the Gentile parent who has been grafted into the vine of Israel through His grace."
^ ab"What are the Standards of the UMJC?". FAQ. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. June 2004. Retrieved September 13, 2010. "Yeshua is the Messiah promised to Israel in the Torah and prophets. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, He provided the atoning sacrifice that gives assurance of eternal life to those who genuinely trust in Him. Jewish people, along with all people, need the spiritual redemption that is only available in Messiah Yeshua, and need to put their trust in Him and His sacrificial work."
^Worshill, Ric (2008). "Why Messianic Jews Use Liturgy During Their Worship Services". Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship. Retrieved May 14, 2012. "The purpose and reasons are obvious. There are three functions in the good work we do in Mashiach. When it is not about bringing others to Yeshua we should forget about it. If it is not about our gaining more of Yeshua in our lives, we must forget about it. If it is not about Yeshua we better forget about it. It is about Him, and service to Him. He is the giver of Salvation. We can do nothing except choose Life in Yeshua and yet He chose us first (John 15:6-17)."
^Feher, Shoshanah. Passing over Easter: Constructing the Boundaries of Messianic Judaism, Rowman Altamira, 1998, ISBN 978-0-7619-8953-0, p. 20 The Messianic movement has eliminated the elements of Christian worship that cannot be directly linked to their Jewish roots. Communion is therefore associated with Passover, since the Eucharist originated during Ushua’s Last Supper, held at Passover. In this way, Passover is given a new, Yshua-centered meaning.
^Carol Harris-Shapiro Messianic Judaism: a rabbi's journey through religious change in 1999 "However, not all Messianic believers are Jews. Nothing is as problematic as the large numbers of Messianic Gentiles in the movement. To claim Jewish identity when one is not Jewish oneself adds another layer of struggle: "We are Jews!"
^Brown Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus p12 2000
^Dan Cohn-Sherbok Messianic Judaism 2000 p161 "For Gentile Christians, baptism is perceived as a means of entering into the body of Christ. Within Messianic Judaism, however, immersion is understood as a religious act symbolizing the believer's commitment to Yeshua: the faithful are "
^"Jewish Conversion Process". JerusalemCouncil.org. February 10, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010. "The process of Jewish Conversion is: 1. Repent by keeping the Covenant (Return to the Torah, get circumcised if male, and commit to the Torah).…2. Believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and that he is coming as the King (Obey everything He commands, which is the Torah).…3. Be immersed in the name of Yeshua, witnessed by others (Go through a mikveh in his name)."
^Peter J. Tomson, Doris Lambers-Petry The image of the Judaeo-Christians in ancient Jewish and Christian ... 2003 p292 "From outside the movement hostile criticism of Messianic Judaism was voiced by such bodies as the Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews. At their annual conference from 16 to 19 October 1975 a resolution was passed condemning "
^A dictionary of Jewish-Christian relations - Page 97 Dr. Edward Kessler, Neil Wenborn - 2005 "Messianic Jews in Israel who accept Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as the Messiah are supported, when they meet with hostility, by CMJ/ITAC. In the 1980s CMJ gave some support to evangelistic campaigns by Jews for Jesus,"
^Schochet, Jacob Immanuel (July 29, 1999). "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots". Canadian Jewish News. "For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism."
Schiffman, Lawrence H. (1993). "Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community" (PDF). Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Archived from the original on November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not. It is nothing more than a disguised effort to missionize Jews and convert them to Christianity. It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance…as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism.…Hebrew Christianity is not a form of Judaism and its members, even if they are of Jewish birth, cannot be considered members of the Jewish community. Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbreachable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former coreligionists."
Balmer, Randall Herbert (November 2004). "Messianic Judaism". Encyclopedia of evangelicalism (Rev. and expanded ed.). Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press. pp. 448–449. ISBN1-932792-04-X. LCCN2004010023. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism. Jewish groups are particularly distressed at the aggressive evangelistic attempts on the part of Messianic Jews."
^"One of the more alarming trends in antisemitic activity in Canada in 1998 was the growing number of incidents involving messianic organizations posing as "synagogues". These missionizing organizations are in fact evangelical Christian proselytizing groups, whose purpose is specifically to target members of the Jewish community for conversion. They fraudulently represent themselves as Jews, and these so-called synagogues are elaborately disguised Christian churches.""Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. Missionaries and Messianic Churches". 1998.
^ abMyers, Calev (April 16, 2008). "Justice in Israel". Jerusalem Institute of Justice, and organization supporting the rights of "Israeli Evangelical believers, Messianic Jews and families of mixed (Jewish-Christian) marriages". Retrieved 2008-04-24. "In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court of Israel ratified a settlement between twelve Messianic Jewish believers and the State of Israel, which states that being a Messianic Jew does not prevent one from receiving citizenship in Israel under the Law of Return or the Law of Citizenship, if one is a descendent of Jews on one's father's side (and thus not Jewish according to halacha). This Supreme Court decision brought an end to a legal battle that has carried on for two and a half years. The applicants were represented by Yuval Grayevsky and Calev Myers from the offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., and their legal costs were subsidized by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. There is a growing trend, today, to use the term Messianic Believers, which solves the objections of Jews and makes the movement more 'accessible' to Gentiles as well, who make up a significant proportion of those who attend Messianic fellowships. This is important because some fellowships under the heading Messianic Judaism, do not actually have any Jews as members and the title does not, therefore, reflect the reality on the ground."
^"Israeli Court Rules Jews for Jesus Cannot Automatically Be Citizens". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 27, 1989. Retrieved August 13, 2010. "Messianic Jews are not entitled to automatic Israeli citizenship, Israel's Supreme Court has ruled, concluding that their belief that Jesus was the Messiah makes them Christians instead of Jews. The ruling, published in Israeli newspapers today, supported Orthodox religious interpretations of the state's 1950 Law of Return. The law forms the basis of Jewish immigration to Israel. The law and its subsequent amendments define a Jew as a person born to a Jewish mother or who converts to Judaism and professes no other faith. Orthodox politicians have long sought a more precise definition, and the court's Christmas Day ruling has resolved one issue. The 100-page decision said that belief in Jesus made one a member of another faith and ineligible for automatic Israeli citizenship, The Jerusalem Post, Hadashot and Yediot Ahronot reported.…“Messianic Jews attempt to reverse the wheels of history by 2,000 years,” Justice Elon wrote in a passage quoted by the Israeli newspapers. “But the Jewish people has decided during the 2,000 years of its history” that Messianic Jews “do not belong to the Jewish nation and have no right to force themselves on it. Those who believe in Jesus are, in fact, Christians.”"
^"Messianic Jews Claim Victory in Israeli Court". CBNnews.com. April 18, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2012. "The Supreme Court of Israel ruled Wednesday that being a Messianic Jew cannot prevent Israeli citizenship if the Jewish descent is from the person's father's side."
^"Mission, Vision, & Purpose of the Jerusalem Council". JerusalemCouncil.org. JerusalemCouncil.org. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. "Our vision also includes the hope of re-appointing a beit din for Messianic believers worldwide, to be called the Jerusalem Council, or Beit HaDin HaYerushalmi, modeled after the original, and submitted to the new Jewish Sanhedrin in issues that do not contradict obedient faith to Messiah Yeshua or his teachings; to provide guidance in issues that may conflict with the Sanhedrin, or in issues that contradict the primacy of the written Word of God, or in issues which may divide the Body of Messiah; to promote the unity of the Body of Messiah worldwide by Spirit-led direction through means of accountability, open dialogue, reasoned doctrine, and sound leadership; and to provide corporate and individual edification by providing apologetic, midrashic, and halakhic guidance for the Body of Messiah."
^"Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council Standards of Observance". ourrabbis.org. Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-30. "At that time a set of Messianic Jewish leaders from New England invited some of their colleagues from outside the region to join them in working on a common set of halakhic standards for themselves and their congregations. While other areas of Messianic Jewish life are of profound importance, such as worship, ethics, education, and social concern, we believed that halakhic standards had received far less attention than their place in Messianic Jewish life warranted."
"what we do". jewsforjesus.org. Retrieved 2010-07-21. "[O]ur regular missionary work-street witnessing-by sending our own staff and plenty of volunteers on sorties (tract passing expeditions) four times a day for two hours at a time.…As some come to faith, we continue studying with them, providing discipleship lessons until the new Jewish believers are well grounded in a local congregation."
Burgess, Stanley M.; Van der Maas, Eduard, eds. (2003). The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, revised and expanded edition. Zondervan. ISBN0-310-22481-0.
Burgess, Stanley M., ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. Routledge. ISBN0-415-96966-2.
Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2001). Voices of Messianic Judaism: Confronting Critical Issues Facing a Maturing Movement. Baltimore: Lederer Books. ISBN978-1880226933.
Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). Messianic Judaism: A Critical Anthology. London: Continuum. ISBN978-0826454584.
Harris-Shapiro, Carol (1998). Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi's Journey through Religious Change in America. Boston: Beacon. ISBN0-8070-1040-5.