About Messianic Judaism
Ten Questions About Yeshua (Jesus)
- If I believe in Yeshua, won't that mean I'm no longer Jewish?
- If Yeshua is the Messiah, then why don't the rabbis believe in him?
- If Yeshua is the Messiah, then why didn't he bring peace to the world?
- If I accept Yeshua, won't I have to worship three G-ds--as do Christians?
- How can a man (i.e., Yeshua) become G-d?
- If there is a G-d, why did he allow six million Jews to die in the Holocaust?
- Why should I read the New Testament--it's anti-Semitic?
- I'm not a bad person--so why do I need a mediator to atone for my sins?
- Why should I become part of a group of people (i.e., Christians) who hate and persecute the Jews?
- Why should I risk being disowned by my family and rejected by my friends and associates?
If I believe in Yeshua, won't that mean I'm no longer Jewish?
Not at all. One's Jewishness is determined by birth (i.e., whether or not one's parents are Jewish), not by one's religious beliefs. Even if one did not want to be Jewish anymore, he could not do anything to change it. In addition, Yeshua was born of a Jewish mother (see the following New Testament reference: the book of Galatians chapter 4, verse 4) and lived a Jewish lifestyle. He consistently followed the Jewish traditions and taught others to do so (see the book of Matthew chapter 5, verses 17-19; chapter 23, verse 3). The early followers of Yeshua (called disciples) worshipped daily in the Jerusalem Temple (see the book of Acts chapter 2, verse 46; chapter 3, verse 1). Also, the B'rit Chadasha (New Testament) was written by Jewish authors (except Luke) to explain Jewish teachings to a Jewish audience. The Jewishness of the New Testament is clearly reflected in a recent translation entitled "The Jewish New Testament". Believing in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, is a very Jewish thing to do. "The Jewish New Testament" is available from our online catalog.
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If Yeshua is the Messiah, then why don't the rabbis believe in him?
Not all the rabbis, past and present, have rejected Yeshua (e.g., Orthodox rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein and Reform rabbi Dr. Max Wertheimer believed in Yeshua). If Yeshua is truly rejected by the rabbis, then he is in good company--the Old Testament (Tanakh) prophets were also rejected by the Hebrew people. Actually, it was predicted that Messiah would be rejected by his people (see the book of Isaiah chapter 53, verse 3). Remember, the rabbis are human; they are not infallible. The final authority for the identity of the Messiah must rest with the Jewish Scriptures, not with the rabbis. In fact, there have been enough rabbis that have believed in Yeshua that several books have been compiled with their stories. One of these books is entitled "Would I, Would You?" It is available from our online catalog.
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If Yeshua is the Messiah, then why didn't he bring peace to the world?
Before there can be peace in the world, all people must recognize their sinful condition and repent (see the book of Jeremiah chapter 3, verses 13-18). Messiah Yeshua will not force peace upon the world, regardless of its spiritual condition. Yeshua came in a humble fashion (see the book of Zechariah chapter 9, verse 9) to die as an atonement for sins (see the book of Isaiah chapter 53). He will return to rule, at which time we will recognize him as the one who was pierced, the one who died as an atonement for sin (see the book of Zechariah chapter 12, verse 10). At his return, he will usher in the Messianic Age--a time that everyone has been waiting for; a time of true peace in the world (see the book of Isaiah chapter 11).
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If I accept Yeshua, won't I have to worship three G-ds--as do Christians?
Not at all. Actually, Christianity teaches that there is just one G-d--the creator of the universe. In fact, when Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was (see the book of Mark chapter 12, verses 28-30), he quoted the Shema (the book of Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4; "Hear O Israel, the L-rd our G-d is one L-rd"). However, this one G-d is a compound unity, as hinted at in the Shema. The Hebrew language has two words that can be translated "one": echad and yachid. Whereas yachid refers to the number one (i.e., absolute unity), echad refers to a composite unity. An example of this is in the book of Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, where it says that a couple joined together in marriage shall become one flesh. Since the Shema uses the word echad, not yachid, it is reasonable to say that G-d's essence or nature is that of a composite unity. Additional information can be found in the book "A Way in the Wilderness," available from our online catalog.
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How can a man (i.e., Yeshua) become G-d?
He can't! Yeshua did not become G-d; rather, G-d became a man (Yeshua). Although at first glance this may seem like a concept foreign to Judaism, a deeper look reveals that G-d appeared in human form a number of times in the Old Testament (Tanakh; e.g., the book of Genesis chapter 18, verses 1-14; chapter 32, verses 24-30; the book of Exodus chapter 24, verses 9-11; the book of Proverbs chapter 30, verse 4). Thus, G-d came to earth in the form of a man--Yeshua the Messiah. After all, he's G-d so he can do anything. In addition, the Messiah is referred to in Scripture (the book of Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6) as being divine. He is called "the mighty G-d, the everlasting Father."
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If there is a G-d, why did he allow six million Jews to die in the Holocaust?
This is a difficult question that has no easy answers. However, rather than think of the six million killed, think of the twelve million left alive. The Holocaust was an attempt to thwart the purposes of G-d with regard to the Jewish people. If Hitler had had his way, there would be no Jews left alive today. But G-d has preserved the Jewish people through almost four thousand years of history, as he promised (see the book of Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 31). G-d has been active in the lives of the Jewish people throughout their history, and even in our own generation G-d has demonstrated his love of the Jewish people by bringing them back to the land of Israel. G-d gave man the ability to choose love, peace and humility; but unfortunately, man preferred hatred, war and pride. G-d mourns over these poor choices but does not override our ability to decide.
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Why should I read the New Testament--it's anti-Semitic?
Not really. Actually, the New Testament is a very Jewish book--written by Jews (except for Luke), to Jews, about Jewish concepts (including the Messiah). An examination of the New Testament clearly shows that the charges of anti-Semitism are false. Actually, the New Testament elevates and honors the Jewish people and their place in G-d's program (see the book of John chapter 4, verses 7, 19-22; the book of Romans chapter 3, verses 1-2; chapter 9, verses 1-5; chapter 11, verses 26-27). We suggest that you start reading the book of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament). You will immediately be struck by the Jewish tone of the book. Try it, and let us know what you think. Additional information can be found in the book "A Way in the Wilderness," available from our online catalog.
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I'm not a bad person--so why do I need a mediator to atone for my sins?
No one said that you were a bad person. However, everyone has committed at least one sin against G-d (see the book of Psalms chapter 14, verse 3; the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 20). Abraham (see the book of Genesis chapter 12, verses 10-20), Moses (see the book of Numbers chapter 20, verses 7-12), and even King David (see the book of 2 Samuel chapter 11, verse 1--chapter 12, verse 14) sinned against G-d. Isaiah went so far as to say that even our righteous deeds are like shmattes (filthy rags) to G-d (the book of Isaiah chapter 64, verse 6). Our rabbis call this sin nature of man the yetzer hara (evil inclination). Every one who has ever committed a sin needs to have atonement made for that sin. In other words, since sin is rebellion against G-d--even if it's just a little white lie, we need a way to set things right with G-d. Otherwise, the consequences of sin are separation from G-d (see the book of Isaiah chapter 59, verse 2; the book of Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 30; cf. the book of Daniel chapter 12, verse 2). Yeshua serves as mediator between man and G-d--much like Moses, the Prophets and the Priests did (see the book of Exodus chapter 20, verses 18-19; the book of Numbers chapter 17, verses 9-13 [chapter 16, verses 44-48 in some translations]). Thus, by believing in Yeshua the Messiah's atonement for sin, G-d forgives our sins and we are at one with G-d once again. Additional information can be found in the booklet "Are There Two Ways of Atonement?", which is available from our online catalog.
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Why should I become part of a group of people (i.e., Christians) who hate and persecute the Jews?
Before we can address this issue, we must deal with the common misconception among Jewish people that all Gentiles are Christians. This could not be further from the truth, even if the Gentile in question attends church regularly. Whereas a man can be born into a Jewish family, that does not make him an observant Jew. Similarly, a man can be born into a Gentile family, but that does not make him a follower of Yeshua (i.e., a Christian). A genuine Christian is one who has made a commitment to Yeshua (see the book of John chapter 3, verses 16-18; the book of Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8-9). This commitment means trusting in Yeshua's atonement for sin as the only means of being saved, and going to heaven. In other words, one can no longer trust in his own ability to make atonement and receive forgiveness from G-d by doing good deeds (mitzvot). This faith commitment results in a changed nature (see the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17). Many people who are called Christians and attend churches have never experienced this spiritual transformation (often referred to as being "born again"). Yeshua commanded his followers to love all men, even their enemies (see the book of Matthew chapter 5, verse 44). Therefore, a person that persecutes Jews is either not a Christian or is a Christian that is not following Yeshua's teachings. And, by the way, the term "Christian" is normally used to refer to Gentile followers of Yeshua. We Jews who follow Yeshua's teachings refer to ourselves as Messianic Jews.
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Why should I risk being disowned by my family and rejected by my friends and associates?
When a Jew becomes a follower of Yeshua, he should maintain his Jewish identity and commitment to his family and friends, and to the Jewish community. This is facilitated by the Messianic congregational movement. Hundreds of Messianic congregations have sprung up over the last two decades. For a list of Messianic congregations in or near your city, please contact us at the following E-mail address: . These congregations usually consist of a mixture of Jews and Gentiles who desire to worship G-d in a Jewish context. Even though a Jewish believer in Yeshua may continue to live a Jewish lifestyle, some of his family and/or friends may still reject him--at least initially. Keep in mind that Yeshua said we would be persecuted (see the book of John chapter 15, verse 20; the book of Matthew chapter 5, verse 11), and that if we reject him before men, that he will reject us before G-d (see the book of Matthew chapter 10, verse 33). In other words, there will be a price to pay for becoming a follower of the Jewish Messiah--Yeshua, but it's well worth it. Stories of other Jews who have taken this step can be found in the book "Awakening," which is available from our online catalog.
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