Messianic Judaism differs from Traditional Judaism in that Messianic Jews accept Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. Messianic Judaism differs from Christianity in that Messianic Jews follow many of the traditions of Orthodox Judaism. All sides are firm in their beliefs and have debated amongst each other for centuries. When looking for a Messianic church near me, I found that there are many Messianic Jews in my community that share the Gospel with the Jew, and hold open arms to the non-Jew alike.
Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah of the Messianic Church Near Me
The key difference between Orthodox (Traditional) Jews and Messianic Jews is who they identify the Messiah as. All Jews have been looking for the promised Messiah; the one who is of the Davidic line, will save the Jewish people from oppression, and be anointed a king to rule over the nation in the kingdom to come.
- Traditional Judaism has existed since the giving of the Torah is still looking heavenward for this Messiah. Their Messiah is for Israel; the Jewish nation alone.
- Christianity believes that the Messiah has come; in the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth. Their Messiah is for all who will believe.
- Messianic Judaism is the sect of Orthodox Jews that accept Jesus (Yeshua) as the Jewish Messiah. Their Messiah is for the Jewish nation first, and then the adoptive race of Gentiles (all non-Jews.)
The Messianic church near me, while accepting Yeshua, still holds fast to most of the laws stated in the Torah. Their form of worship molds the two beliefs into one. While Messianic Jews do not fully associate themselves with Christianity, they do share the Gospel of the New Testament. However, they do not support the theology that states the new covenant of Yeshua replaces the old covenant outlined in the Old Testament (Tanakh).
The New Does Not Replace the Old
The message of the Messianic church near me is that Yeshua is the Messiah, but the Torah still applies. The law of sacrifice may be fulfilled through Yeshua, but the observance of the laws and traditions is still withstanding. Among these traditions and laws are:
- The Torah – The ancient Biblical text that contains the five books written by Moses. These books, also called The Pentateuch or The Law, gives the outline of creation, the deliverance of the Jewish nation, and the establishment of the covenant between Israel and G-d. Many Christians have the impression that the New Testament takes over for the Old. Messianic Jews accept both, relying on salvation through Christ, but still holding to the teaching of the Tanakh.
- The Sabbat – One of the Ten Commandments was the observance of the Sabbath Day (Sabbat). This law was pretty much one of the first established. It goes back to creation. G-d created the world in six days; on the seventh, He rested. He outlined that man should behave in the same fashion. While Christianity observes this day on Sunday, Jews still observe the Sabbat based on the traditional view; sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.
- Kosher Laws – The Torah expressly forbade the consumption of particular types of foods. Both Traditional Jews and Messianic Jews still obey these dietary restrictions. Many Christians believe these restrictions were taken away through the biblical account of Peter praying on a rooftop. A hand from heaven lowers down a sheet with all kinds of forbidden foods. Peter refuses to eat, reminding that the animals were unclean. The voice from heaven tells Peter, “What G-d has made clean, do not call unclean.”
- Holidays and Festivals – The Messianic church near me celebrates the six major Jewish holidays: Passover, Purim, Chanukah, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashana, Sukkot. Christianity celebrates holidays a bit differently. Christmas and Easter are different for Messianic Jews since both have their basis in pagan holidays. Christmas, Yeshua’s birth, is celebrated within the Jewish Chanukah holiday, and some celebrate Easter as part of Passover.
Supporting the Messianic Church Near Me
The most important part of Christ’s teaching was that He does not look at people by race, religion, or denominational preference. He looks at the person He created in His image. Jew or Gentile does not matter. While some Jews believe that the promises laid out in scripture are for Jews alone. Messianic Jews believe it is for all, but first for the Jew, then the Gentile.
Traditional Judaism requires strict adherence to some customs. The wearing of a yarmulke for men and a head scarf for women. Also, men and women have separate worshipping areas. Messianic Judaism allows anyone to visit a Messianic church near me. They do not force anyone to convert to Judaism. There are some customs that one may need to adhere to, such as head coverings, but not all. Either way, it is important to understand the customs before I visit a Messianic church near me.
The Jewish Voice is a ministry aimed at Jews who have yet to discover Yeshua as the Messiah. They spread the Gospel through a multi-faceted ministry that includes humanitarian medical outreaches, international festivals, church planting, and television and media outlets. They broadcast a daily program on GOD TV, and their website is packed with information about Messianic Judaism. I learned a lot (and hope you can too) after exploring the Messianic church near me.