What is the single biggest factor to change Jews for Jesus into Messianic Judaism?
Well, it’s a misleading question actually, as Jews for Jesus is still keeping to its mission statement of bringing the Gospel to the Jews, and getting them into churches.
It was actually Manny Brotman who started the MJAA, which began to create a focus on rather having Jews remain separate in Messianic Synagogues, to present something that Jews would be comfortable with. Well, I dealt with that two days ago (I go to a church, and I’m pretty comfortable there!), but here’s this…
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Galatians 2:11-14 (KJV)
If God’s plan for the New Testament believer is to belong to the church, this again is raising the “middle partition”. At the Beis Miqdash (The Temple), there was a court where the Gentiles were allowed to enter up to, and then Jews could proceed farther. Women had to stop at another spot, and Jewish men could proceed on… until one reached the area only levites could go, and then finally the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could go… and then on Yom Kippur.
But all that changed when the veil in the Temple was rent.
What Brotman encouraged was raising the middle partition again.
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22 (KJV)
Brotman’s work was mirrored by efforts by David Sedaka, and I think Dan Juster, although I’ll state I’m not sure on Juster’s involvement.
But here’s the result when the scene is changed back to being a mini-Beis Miqdash or a synagogue…
The Gentiles feel un-needed. Unimportant. Neglected. Unwanted.
And that’s the point behind Galatians 2 and Ephesians 2. God broke that down. God put that aside, by creating the church. The church, ἐκκλησία Ekklesia in Greek, has the meaning of an assembly, called out from the crowd. Think of a church being “those called out”. The Gentiles outnumber the Jews, so normally, we would expect there to be more Gentiles than Jews in a church. And with their being a veil over Israel today, there should be even less. Perhaps one to two Jews per church. And that’s basically what we’re seeing today.
By creating a synaguge, where Jews get to wear the fancy stuff and Gentiles are discouraged, the Gentiles become second class citizens – exactly the kind of treatment Peter was giving the Gentiles. And I know these words are going to heal a lot of hurt in the hearts of these Gentiles – because it does hurt them. And we’re in a funny position where, with the vast majority of Messianic Synagogues being Gentiles, we’re hurting 30 members for the sake of two or three.
The Messianic Synagogue is in the funny position of undoing the very thing the church was set up by God to do, unite Jew and Gentile together in one big family. In my church, Jews and Gentiles are treated exactly the same. Nobody makes a fuss about my being Jewish. It’s actually funny, I’m more the token Fundamentalist than I am the token Jew! And I’m very comfortable with that.
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV)
Should Gentiles wear Tallis? That’s a political question, and you better believe i’m going to address that very quickly. I am going to say this in strong terms – women love Tallises. And before you try to correct me with your Sephardi style Hebrew you picked up from Jewish New Testament, Hebrew Revised Version, Restored Hebrew Names, Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadashah, etc…. yes, I know the Sephardi Hebrew is tallitot. But in Yiddish it’s Tallises. And I’ll state that in my old synagogue, even though the Sephardi far outnumbered the Ashkenazi, the Ashkenazi still used Yiddish terms. Thanks for asking.
So, what’s the point? Women love tallises. Well, it’s a man’s garment. And if a Chassid or an Orthodox Jew was hearing the Holy Spirit, and ventured into a Messianic Synagogue and saw women wearing tallises and dancing festively, they would be offended, walk out, and not be seen in a church again – and be lost to Christ forever, because you placed a stumblingblock in front of them. I cannot state this strongly enough – for the sake of the Gospel witness, women SHOULD NOT wear a tallis! Or a yarmulke.
Now, if the “Synagogue” was truly the plan of God – would the Gentiles feel the hurt of not being Jewish? No. So, that’s a very strong argument against it.
Next, the Gentiles in the synagogue develope a longing to not be discriminated against… so they begin Geneology as a hobby. to find out if they’ve got ANY Jewish descent whatsoever, so FINALLY they can claim to be Jewish – and they too can be one of the special chosen people.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29 (KJV)
This very exalting of the Jew is contrary to the Bible. it reveals there’s a basic error in the entire system! By labeling it a Synagogue, and featuring a veneer of Jewishness, it puts an atmosphere of separation between Jew and Gentile that was broken down LONG AGO by Christ. We should not be returning to that!
I think if I were ever offered a job as Pastor to a Messianic synagogue I’d be… well, fired very quickly. Because I’d first begin teaching the Gospel, then a study through Ephesians, then Galatians and Colossians. By the time I was done, Beit/Kehillat Generic Shema Israel or whatever would probably be calling itself First Baptist, or New Life Baptist, or something like that. So, please don’t ask for a resume! I don’t want to start my pastoral career being fired!
9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:9 (KJV)
There’s no need to seek to find if you’re Jewish or not! You’re just as precious to God as a Jew. You’re both saved the same way. You both have exactly the same things required of you as a believer.
There’s nothing wrong with being a Gentile. There’s no shame in it. You’re given the same Great Commission as Jews are. You’re called to witness, just like Jews are. Many of you are called to the ministry, just as many Jews are.
To sum up the “What advantage hath the Jew…” it’s very simple… we just have different assigned jobs in the Millennium. Will Jews be more important than Gentiles then? Nope. We just owe God a thousand years of doing the sacrifices right, of doing the festivals right, of doing the Sabbath right. We failed in our obligations, in our side of the bargain. The Gentiles kept theirs. Nothing was required of the Gentiles until the age of grace, and then they began accepting Christ, in far greater numbers than the Jews.
If anything, Jews should be envious of Gentiles!
Really. You guys are great. There’s no need to feel that heartache that i’m told Gentiles feel in Messianic synagogues. “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Relax.
The next step for the Gentile is to claim to be Jewish, even if there’s absolutely no proof. Why? That middle wall of partition, and the exalting of the Jew as a holy people (despite both Jews and Gentiles being kings and priests before almighty God!). The very nature of the Messianic synagogue creates an envy, a longing, and eventually, a lie. Gentiles begin lying to themselves, wishing themselves Jewish, and beginning to believe they are Jewish!
This is mild in grace oriented Messianic Synagogues – but in the Torah Observant ones, it’s overwhelming. Because now there’s an understanding that the Torah is for the Jew alone, and they are being forced to live as Jews who are not. So, with a conflict in your mind, you now begin to long to be Jewish just to get away from that conflict! Imagining yourself to be Jewish takes away the conflict.
I’ll deal with this much more later, but NOBODY is required to keep the Law, the Law is indeed done away with, having served its purpose in bringing you to Christ. So there’s no need for the conflict!
Say it with me… “I’m a gentile. It’s okay to be a gentile. I’m saved by grace, and do not need to keep the law.” Keep repeating it until you believe it. That kind of mental conflict can break someone.
Tomorrow, we’re going to look at the issue of Messianic Bible translations, and then the day after or so, we’re going to address the issue of Torah Observance.
You’re about to find you’re in a cult, and you need to get out of it now.