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To be a Messianic Jew is like being the rope between two parties playing tug-o-war!

To be a Messianic Jewish believer today is unique and complex. At times one may feel misunderstood.

Some of us come from mixed faith backgrounds or various sects who observe the Torah and traditions to varying degrees, irreligious or even secular. Identity is a hot topic within the movement taking place here in the United States. Who are we? What do we believe? How should we live our lives in light of belief in Yeshua? I imagine there are similarities to be drawn from the first century Jews who placed their faith in Yeshua while he was living amongst them in Israel.

”The observant Jews, who do not believe in Yeshua, see us as more or less apostates to the Jewish faith. Many will denounce that we are Jewish whatsoever.”

Today secular Jews generally see us as a joke though some are open to hearing what we believe, primarily amongst the younger generations. The older generations seem to have less interest. The observant Jews, who do not believe in Yeshua, see us as more or less apostates to the Jewish faith. Many will denounce that we are Jewish whatsoever whereas others may check if we are of a maternal lineage according to rabbinic tradition. These folks will give us an ethnic pass but then lump us in with whatever they consider Christianity or Catholicism to be, based on their own understanding.

With more and more Jewish people coming to faith in Yeshua they are however becoming accustomed to hearing about these so-called ”Messianic people”. The observant have a tendency to view us as idolaters because of our belief in the divinity of Yeshua which they absolutely cannot reconcile within the framework of their own theology. They’ll give you a little more slack if you believe him only to be a man from what I’ve witnessed. In spite of viewing us as a heretical group at times and with the best intentions Orthodox Jewish people have attempted to graciously admonish me for my so-called misguided conclusions. Their motivation is to reason me out of my faith in hopes that I will convert to a more traditional Judaism that rejects Yeshua as Messiah and the New Testament scriptures, what we call the Brit ha’Chadashah (New Covenant).

Now on the other hand there is the mainstream Christian church. They support us in our newfound faith and rejoice in our belief but they seem to prefer us to remain separate if not to assimilate into their established traditions and doctrines. I’ve experienced tense conversations where I have been challenged on why we still adhere to things such as circumcision, Shabbat, eating biblically kosher, observing the appointed times, taking communion during Passover and wearing tassels daily or using prayer shawls during services.

”According to a Messianic organization responsible for Jewish evangelism across the North American region, data has been collected which proves that the church’s least reached religious and ethnic group regarding missionary work are in fact the Jewish people – In Israel and here in the U.S.”

Among some Christian brethren I have been accused of being a Judaizer. I have been derogatorily associated with some of the Pharisees who rejected Yeshua. I believe this attitude may derive from ignorance but could be a remnant of antisemitic ideas within the modern church passed down throughout history. One Messianic Rabbi I’ll paraphrase put it something like this ”To be Messianic is much like being the rope between two parties playing tug-o-war”. With Christians being on one side and Jews on the other.

According to a Messianic organization responsible for Jewish evangelism across the North American region, data has been collected which proves that the church’s least reached religious and ethnic group regarding missionary work are in fact the Jewish people – In Israel and here in the U.S. Messianic organizations which are limited in number and support struggle to accomplish the work that needs to be done. I believe we should not be the only branch of the church expected to maintain Jewish-Christian relations or solely responsible for the evangelism of Jewish unbelievers.

As far as our belief, our practices, expressions of faith if you will and the structure in which our congregations and synagogues function, it’s all beautiful and as far as I can tell biblical. Many of our congregants are not of ethnic Jewish descent or heritage and observe similarly to us. Every Shabbat they stand with us in worship of the one and only true living God. The God of Israel, his son and our lord Messiah Yeshua. It’s this unity I see that I believe God intended for all those that come to faith in him.

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