Question: What is Messianic Judaism? Answer: See the article, What is Messianic Judaism?.
Question: I am looking for a Messianic congregation in my area but can’t find one. Answer: There aren’t many Messianic congregations in the United States, and if you do find one in your area, be warned that not all are healthy, so you will need to do due diligence before getting involved. For more information, I recommend you read: How To Distinguish Between Healthy And Unhealthy Messianic Congregations. If you can’t find a healthy Messianic congregation, be an active member of a good evangelical church and supplement what you get there with our services – which are now being streamed live at shema.com – and the Bible studies and teachings on the website.
Question: You wrote that Jews and Gentiles are not required to live in the same way. Do you believe they have a different calling and can live a different lifestyle? Answer: Messianic Jews and people from the nations share the same calling – we are invited to live forever in the New Jerusalem with the Three-In-One God and the sons and daughters of God and the good angels. However, Messianic Jews and the people from the nations are not required to live the same way. One example: circumcision. The Jewish people, including Messianic Jews, are required to circumcise their boys on the eighth day as part of our responsibility to the covenant made with Abraham. Gentile Christians are not required to do that. I encourage Messianic Jews to maintain a distinct Jewish identity, which is based, in part, on practices found in the Torah, and pass that identity on to their children. On the other hand, I don’t pressure Gentiles to live like Jewish people living under the Sinai-Covenant.
Question: Will God punish me if I choose to live a Jewish lifestyle like Jesus did? If I choose to live a Jewish lifestyle, I’m not renouncing Him or converting, am I? Answer: Your motivation for wanting to live a Jewish lifestyle is crucial. If you’re doing so because you believe that it’s obligatory and God requires you to keep all the laws of the Sinai Covenant that can be kept (and many of the laws can’t be kept since the temple was destroyed and the sacrifices stopped), you are guilty of the false teaching known as Legalism. That means you are sinning and you are in spiritual danger and you may be punished. However, if you choose to live a Jewish lifestyle, not because you believe that God demands it but because you find it meaningful, you should be OK. You can choose to live a Jewish lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that you have converted or that you are Jewish. In my synagogue, we have Asians, African-Americans, people from a European background and others who serve the Lord within a Jewish lifestyle, but that doesn’t make them “Jewish.” One warning: don’t allow your interest in a Jewish lifestyle to be the focal point of your faith. I have seen many become so absorbed with Jewish roots and Jewish practices that Yeshua gets crowded out. This might sound strange, but Christianity is about Christ. Messiah is our focus. He is our living Head whom we need to be closely connected to and in touch with and empowered by. We need to carry on His mission of world evangelism. A spiritual diet where Jewish identity is the main course and Yeshua is a side dish is a formula for spiritual starvation.
Question: I’m trying to figure out what religion I am. I was raised Christian but think the Jews have some good points; and in my search to find my religion, I was drawn to you. How can there be something in between Christianity and Judaism? From what I was taught, you either believe Jesus is the Son of God or you don’t. Why do you believe what you do? If I am mostly Christian, but think Jesus was just a blessed man chosen by God to perform miracles, would that make me a Messianic Jew? Answer: In a way, there is something between Judaism and Christianity. Messianic Judaism is that bridge between those two religions. Why do we believe what we do? On the website, read the teachings under “Apologetics” along with What Is Messianic Judaism? You ask if you are mostly Christian, but think Jesus was just a blessed man chosen by God to perform miracles, would that make you a Messianic Jew? The answer is that believing that Jesus was only a man, even a blessed man who did miracles, is not enough to make anyone a Christian or a Messianic Jew. A genuine Christian is someone who understands that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of God, that He came into this world through the incarnation, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to make atonement for our sins, was buried and resurrected and is alive now. When a person understands these things and makes a commitment to become loyal to Yeshua, he becomes a Christian. I pray that happens to you. A Messianic Jew is someone who is Jewish and knows who Yeshua is and has transferred his loyalties to Him. If you are not Jewish, you can’t become a Messianic Jew.
Question: I’m a South African believer and am in the process of “coming out” of the Western Church system. I feel that Messianic Judaism is the unchanged way of practicing a living faith. I am ignorant of what it takes to “convert” to a Messianic Jewish approach and don’t want to live under Law. Could you point me in the right direction? Is there a South African branch of your congregation? Answer: Evangelical Christianity is just as valid an expression of New Covenant faith as Messianic Judaism. Really, they are two expressions of the same faith. I identify with the Evangelical Church, which is part of the “Western Church” system. So, here’s what I recommend: You have the right to express your faith in a more Jewish way. There’s nothing wrong with that – if your motivations are right – and it seems like they are since you don’t feel obligated to live under the Law. Living a fully Sinai-Covenant observant life is impossible anyway, since the Sinai Covenant is a broken covenant. If you can find a good Messianic synagogue near you, great. If not, if you are not part of a good Evangelical church, join one and get actively involved. Then, supplement what you are getting there with our teachings. We live-stream our services at shema.com and the messages and Bible studies are recorded and available on Tuesdays.
Question: I am a Christian and live in West Papua, Indonesia. I am interested in going back to the Hebrew roots of Christianity. I read many books and started celebrating the Sabbath three weeks ago. I pray during the traditional Jewish times of prayer each day. I stopped eating pork and try hard to eat kosher food. However, my obedience and knowledge are still insufficient. And there is no synagogue where I can go to and pray on the Sabbath. I would like your help so I can celebrate Shabbat and incorporate more of my Hebrew roots. Another burning issue for me is related to conversion: Do I have to convert to Messianic Judaism? Answer: No, you definitely do not need to do any conversion. You are fine the way God made you! Joined to Messiah by having faith in Him, you are complete! You were born to the parents and people God intended you to be. You are a member of Messiah’s Community, part of the One New Man, God’s new united community made of Jewish people and people of the nations – and that is enough! My recommendation is that, if you are not already, become an active member of an Evangelical church and supplement your interest in your Jewish roots by listening to our services that are streamed and practicing what you can on your own. If the live streaming doesn’t work for you as far as timing, we add the commentary on the weekly Torah portion and the message and the Bible study to the website on Tuesdays in audio and written forms.
Question: I’m a 29-year-old mother of one and I live in central Africa – Congo to be precise. Even though I come from a Christian family, there have been times when I questioned my Christian beliefs. I wondered: If everything I believe as a Christian has its roots in Judaism, then why don’t the Jewish people know Hebrew and know the prophecies about the Messiah, and believe in Yeshua? I was concerned that Christians were wrong about our interpretation of these prophesies. I visited many Jewish websites which had good arguments about passages like Isaiah 53, claiming that it referred to the nation of Israel and not Jesus. I was starting to be persuaded, but had a hard time letting go of my belief in Jesus. Then one day I came across your website, and I must tell you how relieved I was to find Jewish people who believe in Jesus. I was filled with so much joy I cried! Your articles changed my life – especially the one on the fulfillment of Jewish holidays in Jesus Christ. It reinforced my faith and beliefs and helped me understand the Gospel at a whole new level. I am immensely grateful to you for that. My questions are: If Jews and Gentiles are one in the Lord, why do you not call yourselves Christians? I understand everything about not wanting to assimilate and the desire to keep Jewish tradition, but it does not explain why you don’t identify as Christian as the apostle Paul and others did in Acts? I read in one of your articles that all of Israel will be saved in the end. Does that include those Jewish people who have died without believing in Jesus? If the plan is for Jews to all be saved in the end then what’s the use of evangelism since they’ll all come to believe anyway? Thank you so much for what you do. My prayers are with you. Shalom! Answer: Greetings, and thank you for letting us know how some of our teachings changed your life and helped you in your faith. In answer to your questions, although some Messianic Jews don’t use the word “Christian” to refer to themselves, I do. I identify as a Christian. I call myself a Christian – as well as a Messianic Jew. When Paul teaches us that “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11) – he is not teaching us that every individual Jewish person will be saved. Paul makes it very clear earlier in Romans that the majority of the Jewish people are not saved. It is only the faithful remnant who believe in Yeshua who are saved. When he informs us that all Israel will be saved, he is letting us know that a time is coming (connected to Messiah’s return) when the entire nation will turn to Yeshua, and recognize Him and welcome Him – and then the nation will be saved.
Question: Whenever I share with Jewish people that Jesus was Jewish, they agree with me. But then they ask, “Why did He change?” My employer once asked me, “Why did Jesus begin a new religion, and that religion turn around and persecute us?” Answer: Yeshua never changed. He did not start a new religion. As the Seed of the Woman and the Messiah, Yeshua came to fulfill the ancient promises in the Law and the Prophets and the Writings about Messianic salvation. He came to bring salvation to Israel and to the nations of the world. Nor did great Rabbi Paul change things and start a new religion. Paul never ever contradicted the Son of God! Paul was faithful to serve the Three-In-One God. You need to understand that Paul was raised up by God and specifically sent to bring the teachings of Messiah to a new people – the Gentiles. Yeshua was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Paul is the great emissary and theologian that Messiah sent to the Gentiles, to make clear what was necessary for them. Paul is unjustly portrayed as the bad guy by many modern scholars, but that is not the case. Paul and his mission are simply misunderstood. He was welcomed by the other apostles. They recognized and approved of his ministry and message to the Gentiles. The great Rabbi from Tarsus understood that the Gentiles were not obligated to keep all of the commands that were directed to the Jewish people, and they could remain within their cultural heritage. The First Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 agreed with Rabbi Paul and extended a “trans-cultural Judaism” (Christianity can be understood as Biblical Judaism that includes the Messiah, but without all the cultural practices of Israel) to the other nations – without ever asking the Messianic Jews to give up their Jewish heritage and practices. Sadly, over the centuries, the Church gradually lost more and more of its appreciation for its Jewish roots. The good news is that those Jewish roots are in the process of being restored!
Question: According to Galatians 3:26-29, all Believers are one in Messiah, and there is no longer Jew or Gentile. Why do you continue to make a distinction between Jews and Gentiles? Aren’t we all Christians now, and no longer Jews or Gentiles? Answer: Let’s look at the passage in question: For you are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Yeshua. For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Rabbi Paul is not teaching us that all earthly differences between men and women, and between Jews and Gentiles automatically disappear when we become Believers in the Messiah.