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What is Messianic Judaism and who is Yeshua?
B'eit Adonai Yisrael - House of the Lord of Israel

What is Messianic Judaism and who is Yeshua?
By Rabbi David Chernoff

Messianic Judaism is a Biblically based movement of Jewish people who have come to believe in Yeshua as the promised Jewish Messiah of Israel. Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus, which means salvation.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews in North America alone. Some have estimated the number to be as high as 500,000. Messianic synagogues are springing up in almost every major city across the country.

Other nations such as the former Soviet Union, England, France, South Africa, Israel, and Australia are experiencing a growing movement of Messianic Jews as well.

Is it Jewish to believe in Yeshua?

To some, the concept of a Jew believing in Yeshua seems to be a contradiction. The reason is, many people have a dichotomy set up in their minds. On the one hand, you have Jews and Judaism and on the other hand, Christians and Christianity.

You are either one or the other -- so the thinking goes.

But this simple dichotomy in reality is not so simple. If we go back 2000 years, we find that Yeshua was a Jew living in a Jewish land among Jewish people. All the apostles were Jewish, as well as the writers of the New Covenant, and for many years, this faith in Yeshua was strictly a Jewish one.

From the book of Acts and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century there were literally hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews. In addition, there were Messianic synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.

These first-century Messianic Jews remained highly loyal to their Jewish people.

Whether it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua was never an issue. Of course it was Jewish! What else could it be?

The big question back then was whether Yeshua had been sent for the Gentiles also. When God miraculously showed the Messianic Jews that He was the Messiah for both Jew and Gentile, then Gentiles from every nation began to pour into this Jewish faith.

Throughout the years, as the numbers of Gentile Believers increased, they began to predominate in this Messianic faith. With the passing on of the Jewish apostles and the early Messianic Jews, the Jewish roots of the faith were eventually lost. This "de-Judaizing" process continued until in one of the greatest paradoxes in history, it became alien for a Jewish person to believe in Yeshua as his Messiah!

Today we are seeking to put the Messiah back within His Biblical and Jewish context. Messianic Judaism is a spiritual renaissance, a revival, a return to the faith as the Messianic Jews had in the first-century, unencumbered by the traditions of men. It is a return to a pure and simple faith based upon having a living, vibrant and personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the Messiah Yeshua.

The real issue: Why did the Messiah have to die?

The real issue we must recognize is not whether it is Jewish to believe in Yeshua, because the Jewishness of Yeshua is unquestionable historically. The real issue at stake here is whether Yeshua is truly the Messiah or not. If He is, then it is the most Jewish thing in the world to believe in Him. If He is not the Messiah, then we should not follow him.

There is only one way to find out, and that is to go back into the Jewish Scriptures ourselves and study the Messianic prophecies.

The Jewish prophet Isaiah answered this question when he said, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid upon Him (the Messiah) the sins of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

Without God there is no hope for mankind. It is obvious that man is separated from God when we view the ever-worsening situation in the world today. That is why He sent Yeshua, the Messiah, who came to deliver us from our sins and to bring us into a new life in Him.

For hundreds of thousands of us today, we know that we have found the Messiah who said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17)

We would like to encourage you to read and study the Jewish Scriptures of the New Covenant for yourself and find out if Yeshua is truly the One of whom the prophets spoke. Before you research the Scriptures, pray and ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to guide you and show you His truth.

What did the prophets say about Messiah?

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot. And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our sickness He Himself bore, and our pains He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (Isaiah 53:1-6).