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Jewish History

This is a very important (condensed version) read of Jewish History...

authors note: "This website explores many aspects of anti-Semitism and its relationship with Christians and Christianity. If you are easily offended by frank discussion about this subject you should consider not browsing this area. If you are spiritually mature enough to face the sins of the Church and perhaps your own sin concerning anti-Semitism, then continue."

Why Do You Say Yeshua?

Several years ago, a meeting took place between Jewish and Evangelical theologians to address common concerns and discuss similarities and differences. At one point in the meetings, in the midst of all the dialogue, one Evangelical posed this question point blank: "Why don't you Jews just accept Jesus as your savior." At this question, the Jewish leaders picked up and left without further discussion.

This is a question that Messianic Jewish people know as our everyday reality. "Why don't the Jewish People accept Yeshua?" Before I attempt to answer this question, it is important to make two observations: First, that all Jewish people have not rejected the Gospel. In the early church, there were many Jewish believers. Acts records that thousands came to the Lord at Shavout (Pentecost). The mother church in Jerusalem was made up of Jewish people. The book of Hebrews was addressed to Jewish believers.

Throughout the post New Testament era, there has been a small but steady stream of Jewish people who have come to the Lord. Neander, the father of church history was a Jewish believer.

A second observation, is that not all gentiles have accepted Jesus. True believers are indeed a minority in the world, even in our own cities. The best we can say, is that some Jews, and some Gentiles have accepted Yeshua, but most people, both Jews and Gentiles have not accepted him.

There are two categories of reasons why Jewish people reject the Gospel. The first are theological reasons. Jewish people have a hard time accepting the idea of God existing in human form. This objection is based on the notion that we believe that Yeshua was a man who became God. There are cults today that believe that, but it is not what the Bible teaches. The task of the believer who shares with his Jewish friend, is to explain that we do not believe that any man can become a god. We do believe that God, who is all powerful, can do whatever He chooses, including taking on the form of a man. We do not believe that Yeshua was a man who became God, but God eternally existing, became man, that He might redeem us.

A second theological objection Jewish people hold to the gospel, is the concept of the Trinity. The Jewish definition of monotheism seeks to leave no room for a plurality in the Godhead. Many Jewish people mistakenly believe the Christians worship three Gods. It is important for a believer to point out to his Jewish friend that the Jewish Bible uses a word for ONE to describe God that allows for a plurality. The great confession, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One," uses the word ECHAD to describe the oneness of God. Had a different word been used, they could claim the oneness of God was absolute, but the word ECHAD allows for a composite unity. It is the word used in Genesis 2:24 when the man and woman marry, "...and the two become one flesh." The scripture speaks of a oneness of plurality. Like one wall made up of many bricks. The Trinity does not mean three gods, but rather ONE God in three persons; a Tri-unity, a oneness of three. As New Covenant believers we affirm the monotheism of scripture.

A third theological objection, is that we need a mediator to go to God, while they feel they need no mediator. I would point out that yes, we go through Yeshua as our mediator, but because He is God, we are going directly to God. Secondly, I would point out that in Biblical times, Jewish people did not go directly to God. They had to go through a Cohain, a priest, who would bring their offerings before the Lord. It was the high priest, who could enter the Most Holy Place only once a year, and even then, only with the blood of atonement.

These are major theological objections Jewish people have to the Gospel. But they are secondary. The most common reasons Jewish people reject the Gospel are historical. I am referring to persecution in the name of Jesus. In the fourth century, the emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity, and he forcibly converted his empire, demanding baptism or death. Some Jewish people were baptized and later recanted, others chose death. All in the name of Jesus.

In the ninth through the thirteenth centuries, the crusaders marched against the Moslem infidels to recapture the holy land. On the way, they slaughtered Jewish people by the thousands, in some cases herding them into the synagogues and burning them to the ground while singing hymns of praise to Jesus. In the middle ages, Jews were herded into 'ghettos' to separate them from the 'good Christians.' They had curfews and chained them into the ghettos at night. When waves of persecution or anti-Semitism reached their peaks, they had the Jews chained in, and killed and maimed their Jewish victims. All in the name of Jesus.

During the Spanish inquisition, many Jews were deported, many others were tortured and killed. Lands and property were confiscated, and may have been used to finance Columbus' voyage. All in the name of Jesus. In Russia, thousands of Jewish people were massacred in pogroms by so called Christians. The Russian peasants would put crosses on their doors so the murderers would know to leave them alone. All in the name of Jesus. Jewish people have a very long history of persecution in the name of Jesus. Most of the people who did these things were probably not true believers in Jesus, but some were. As a result, Jewish people have a view of Christians as being anti- Semitic. They say, "How can I accept a religion which has shed so much Jewish blood? I would be a traitor to my fathers who died not to submit to the coercion to accept Jesus."

But Jewish people need the Gospel ... just like everyone else. Yeshua said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, except by me." It is important that we help our Jewish friends and neighbors see that the people who did these atrocities were not following Yeshua. They went against every teaching and denied Him when they lifted their hands against the Jews.

Because of this profanation of the Lord's Name by the anti-Semitic, Jewish people need to be told that a person should believe in Yeshua is because He is the Messiah, not because Christians are such nice people.
They need to see that Yeshua is not just a god for the Gentiles, and the Jews have their own, but that because God is One, He is the God of the whole earth, of both Jews and Gentiles.
They need to be shown Messianic prophecy (i.e., Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:11; Daniel 9:26.)
They need to see the Jewishness of The Messiah, and of the apostles, of the early church, and of the New Testament.
They need to realized that when a Jewish person accepts the Messiah He is still a Jew.

This is where terminology comes in. Messianic Believers use a different terminology than most other believers to express our faith. For example, We say YESHUA instead of JESUS. We call ourselves BELIEVERS instead of CHRISTIANS. We refer to our places of worship as CONGREGATIONS instead of CHURCHES. The reason for this is the anti-Semitic history of the Church. We say MESSIAH instead of CHRIST. We use YESHUA, the Hebrew name of Jesus, to express ourselves as Jewish believers, and to help our Jewish brethren to see that not only is the Messiah Jewish, but believing in Him does not make us non-Jewish, and is a fulfillment of God's promises to our People. The Jewish people feel Yeshua is not applicable to them, so they never really have considered His claims.

This contextualization of the Gospel, a becoming all things to all men, as Paul taught, and endorsed my most Evangelical seminary Mission departments), is a means to help Jewish people see that Yeshua is really applicable for them, as well as being the original culture in which the New Covenant faith was founded. It is my hope that more and more Jewish people will come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah. This is why I express myself in these terms. I don't ask you to the reader to do so, but I hope you will understand where I am coming from. SHALOM.

by leader in the Messianic Jewish movement
Very informative post Coconut, the hebrew meaning of Yeshua is salvation.

authors note: "This website explores many aspects of anti-Semitism and its relationship with Christians and Christianity. If you are easily offended by frank discussion about this subject you should consider not browsing this area. If you are spiritually mature enough to face the sins of the Church and perhaps your own sin concerning anti-Semitism, then continue."
Look at what Paul said.
Galatians 5:16&17
16*So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17*The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.
Galatians 5:22-25
22*But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23*gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25*If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Seems that the religious zealots who committed these atrocities neglected to follow Paul's advice. According to the scripture above, the people who murdered the Jewish people did not even belong to Christ, they were probably deceived. Serving Satan and thinking it was Jesus.

The really sad part is both the Jews and these zealots share of the same eternity, and it's not where they thought they would be spending it.
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Messianic Jew: A Simple Definition
A Messianic Jew is a Jewish person who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is their Messiah. Some people think that a Jewish person who believes in Jesus is no longer a Jew. But what could possibly be more Jewish than believing in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua?

Messianic Jew: Some Actual Testimonies
Messianic Jews have created some wonderful ministries. It seems that some of the most powerful testimonies for Jesus come from Jewish people that discover that their Messiah has already come. Here are a couple of excerpts:

"The more I read the Bible and learned about God, the more I wanted to know Him. I began to follow the Old Testament laws so he would be pleased with me: I ate only kosher foods, stopped going to Friday night football games, and tried my best to keep all the commandments I could. As I continued to read the Bible, I came across verses about a promised Messiah. Now I knew a bit about the Messiah already from my Jewish upbringing. When I read about the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures, my curiosity was piqued. The picture was sketchy, but it slowly became frightfully clear. This Messiah that I was reading about in my own Jewish Bible sounded like you-know-who! I didn't know much about Jesus, but I did know that I wasn't supposed to believe in Him. I began trying to find other explanations for prophecies like Micah 5:2, which describes an Eternal One who would be born in Bethlehem; or Daniel 9, that pinpoints the time of Messiah's first coming; also Isaiah 53, which spoke of Messiah's life and his sacrifice for sin. As I tried to explain away these and many other prophecies, I found that I could not. I realized that if the Bible was true, then Jesus had to be the Jewish Messiah! I felt guilty simply having these thoughts! What if Jesus wasn't the Messiah? Then I would be committing idolatry! But what if He was? I would be denying God by not believing! I had to be totally sure, so I kept on studying and searching and trying to prove it wasn't so. After two years of struggling, I found myself drawn closer and closer to Jesus" (Zhava Glaser, Chosen People Ministries).

"Okay, I didn't have many options to start with! I was born Jewish! You can't really determine the circumstances of your own birthright? So I got a basic Jewish education and at the tender age of 13 I took upon my narrow shoulders the broad weight of the Law as I became Bar-mitzvah, which literally means "a son of the commandments". On that particular day as I stood on the raised platform in the synagogue and read from the seemingly ancient scroll with its spidery writing, God touched me and I felt a radiance that vanished as quickly as it had come. My idea of God at that stage was quite undeveloped. Although I had a clear sense of monotheism, God was a distant and irrelevant Being. I knew of the Messiah before I heard of Jesus. For me, the Messiah was a mysterious figure who emerged from the winds of a Jewish atmosphere. He was the dawning of a new era, like a warrior approaching from heaven's horizon with a banner of truth in his hand and the rising sun at his back. To me, as a Jew, Jesus was from the other side of the Book, the closed side. I was told that the New Testament had been added by the Gentiles and that I need never consider any intermediary in order to relate to God. I bought a copy of the New Testament and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. My first impression of the Gospels was that they were patently Jewish books. The significance given to Jesus' genealogies and the use of Old Testament quotations caused me to perceive clearly that these were Jews writing in a Jewish way in order to convince other Jews, and Gentiles, that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah" (Lev Leigh, Jews for Jesus).

Messianic Jew: The Power of Prophecy in the Jewish Scriptures
Louis Lapides, a Hebrew scholar and Messianic Jew, is a well-known writer and speaker on Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. One of the important pieces of evidence that convinced Lapides that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews was the fulfillment of prophecy in the Jewish Scriptures themselves. There are over 300 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah (about 40 of which are very specific), and Jesus fulfilled every one. Some say this is just coincidence. Some say its Christian manipulation after-the-fact. Some say its interpretation out-of-context. However, all of these objections break down under investigation. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reliability of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, we now know with certainty that these Jewish prophecies pre-dated Jesus Christ, and that today's Old Testament translations are nearly identical to the ancient Hebrew texts. Lapides has said, "You know, I go through books that people write to try to tear down what we believe. That's not fun to do, but I spend the time to look at each objection individually and then to research the context and the wording in the original language. And every single time, the prophecies have stood up and shown themselves to be true."

Messianic Prophecy: Discover More Now!

Messianic Prophecy - The Challenge
Messianic prophecy is phenomenal evidence that sets the Bible apart from the other "holy books." We strongly encourage you to read the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament fulfillments on the following page. Better yet, get a Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew scripture read in the Jewish synagogues) and read the Messianic prophecies from there. It is dramatic, eye-opening and potentially life-changing!

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The book "Judaism is not Jewish" by Baruch Maoz; a Jewish pastor in Jerusalem throws some light on the whole issue of Messianic Judaism. He points out, for instance that 80% of saved Jews go to regular churches and identify themselves as Jewish christians.

The Messianic Jewish movement is quite often a sectish, arrogant movement, that like the replacement theologians, who claim the church is Israel; claim that Israel is the church.

I have wittnessed to a fare few Jews, as a previous boss was Jewish and I got the impression that they would listen to me and be open to discussion; but they despised the Messianic Jewish groups. I did use the OT mainly and its prophecies about Israel and the Messiah as this would interest them.

I have also known a fair few Messianic Jews and they nearly all seemed a bit unbalanced, especially doctrinally.

One of the good things about them is that they are very active evangelistically, which is always to be encouraged.

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