...but are they Jews?
I was cruising the Internet a few days ago and I stumbled on one of the
Messianic/Jews for Jesus sites. The one thing that caught my eye was that ‘they’
claim Jews are anti-Semitic. My first reaction was: “What ??? How can Jews
It seems that their major complaint(s) are: 1.) We do not recognize them as
a distinct Jewish sect and, 2.) We do not list their synagogues as affiliates to
Messianic Jews and Jews for Jesus have little in common with mainstream
Judaism. They may share similar holidays – I love Italian food but does
that make me a kindred spirit to Al Capone.. No. I speak a little German,
but that does not mean I have aligned myself with the Nationalist Socialist
German Workers Party – not on a bet. What separates us from them is their belief
that Jesus was the messiah.
As for affiliation, if they are not one of us, then why would we list them
as being a member of our tribe so to speak? If they are content to believe
they are right then why would they want to counted with those they believe are
wrong? Either way, it seems to me that bemoaning and lambasting us because
they are not getting their way is demanding and disrespectful. It also
seems to me, that Messianic/Jews for Jesus should follow the example set by the
Mormons. The Mormons believe that they are the lost tribe of Israel (ergo:
Jewish), and they quietly live their lives content with their beliefs.
The ‘synagogues’ that the Messianc's/Jews for Jesus have are open to
everyone. Does that mean that if one is a Christian who joins a messianic
‘synagogue’ they are automatically a Jew too? Fat chance. How can one come
in and profess to be a Jew if one has not gone through the conversion process of being
a Jew and not under gone Beit Din? That is the law. If one believes in,
and subscribes to, the divinity of Jesus, one is a Christian and not a
Jew. The proper conversion process to Judaism takes well over a year and
every step of the way one has to prove their sincerity. One has to either
have a Bris or a Mikva (depending on gender) – that is the law, and lastly one
has to agree to accepting the responsibility that goes along with being a Jew.
After the proper time, study, and testing, one is then known as either the son
or daughter of Abraham. However, the essential operative phrase is “with being a
There are several dogmatic beliefs that one has to have before one can be a
Christian. Jesus was supposed to have said that the law should be
discarded. Why would we want to throw away the Talmud? I cannot
think of any reason because the Talmud spells out the moral high ground that
Jews should adhere to. Laws that are just and fair should be ignored?
That means anarchy. We cannot throw out the laws of Moses contained in the Torah
because this is a doctrine from God and clearly spells out our relationship with God
and with our fellow mankind.
On the other hand, was Jesus talking about abolishing the law that forbade
people from directly approaching the Ark of the Covenant? There was
a very sound reason for that law – the Ark was a dangerous item to approach
without proper preparation. God clearly spells out what preparations one has to
make to approach the Ark directly. We used the Ark as a defensive weapon
and it rained absolute havoc on our enemies. The temple priests who tended to
the Ark had a long rope attached to their leg incase they were struck dead and
had to be dragged out of the Holy of Holies – tending to the Ark was a high risk
occupation…. Because people were not allowed to approach the Ark directly
that does not mean that we were not permitted to approach God
directly. We have never needed an intermediary between the Divine
and us. The Divine clearly demonstrates that He and man can talk directly
to each other when He and Moses worked out the 10 Commandments. The Divine
even makes house calls – just look at Abraham & Sarah.
If Jesus says the laws of man should be discarded does that mean we can
discard all the warning labels on electronic stuff, poke our fingers inside and
have a direct experience with our Sony and the live electrical components?
Not the wisest of choices..
Is Jesus saying the laws of Kashrut should be thrown out the window?
Were the laws of Kashrut written by Moses are simple rules that
were made from observations. Shell fish – if you wait too long after cooking
them and before eating them you are going to get sick, very sick. Pork –
aside from being a carrion eater, if you do not cook pork properly you are going
to get Trichinosis. Etc.
One dogma is that one is to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
To date, the messianic era has not happened in any way, shape or manner.
The prophets clearly tell us the Messiah would herald in a time of total peace
and harmony. How could Jesus be the messiah when he openly stated he came to
divide families – brother against brother, children against parents? That
really does not sound very harmonious, peaceful and reassuring.
Another ‘requirement’ is that you have to ‘recruit’ people – bring them to
the ‘true faith’. From a psychological point of view, it would seem that
they are insecure about their belief and they have to recruit others to
substantiate and validate their beliefs/faith.
Jesus said that he was the light and the resurrection – Amun Ra said that
3000 years before Common Era according the Egyptian canon. Jesus was also
to have said that no one comes to the father but through him.. Akhnatun said
that very same thing 1500 years before Common Era.
Messianics/Jews for Jesus believe that once one has accepted Jesus as their
personal savior, one’s sins past, present and future are forgiven. Do not accept
Jesus and you are damned to hell. So, let us take a step back in time..
Hitler had been a devout Catholic and part of the baptism ritual is that a
person ‘accepts’ Jesus as their personal savior. Using this logic that
means Hitler is in heaven and all the Jews he slaughtered are in hell.
Trust me, I had this conversation with a Messianic and this is what they
honestly believe. Do I want to worship a God like that – no? Being
given carte blanche forgiveness relieves the person of all social/moral
responsibility, something Judaism is very keen on. We are responsible to
God and our fellow mankind. We are mandated to try to make this world a
better place to be, not screw someone to the wall and gaff it off because we are
Probably the most disturbing aspect is that they want to align themselves
with us, sit on our Rabbinical Committees and dictate to us on what is right and
wrong from their point of view. As Jews, we believe in live and let live –
we have been the under dog so many times that we know the ramifications of
pre-judging. Not wanting to inflict this on others’ we took the moral high
ground. Messianics just do not see it that way – they are right and we are
all wrong. That is religious intolerance (see Spanish Inquisition 101).
I also question why would the Divine even want to incarnate and come down
to earth in human flesh and tell everyone to throw his very own laws away.
The God I know is supreme and he gave us his law at Mount Sinai. The
Divine even says: “Behold a good doctrine has been given to you, my Torah” and
so far, God has not rescinded that statement. God speaks through our Rabbis –
before a law is passed, it is reviewed and discussed by a number of Rabbis. Go
out to the Responsa web site and count the number of Rabbis who are involved in
any decision making.
I fail to see where even the fundamental prophecies are even fulfilled by
Jesus. The Messiah is supposed to come from the house of David.
Lineage is passed down through the blood father. If one believes the
immaculate conception that would mean that Jesus had no earthly father – his
step father, Joseph, was suppose to have come from Bethlehem, birth place of
David. We ask then, how can one be from an established lineage if one does
not have a blood father that came from that lineage?
Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus, was supposed to have come from Bethlehem
and that proves nothing. I lived in the south for a considerable length of time,
does that make me southerner – No, it means only that I was in the south.
My Rabbi’s last name is Cohen – does that make me a temple priest by proximity?
The answer is NO. Simply put, Joseph may have lived in the same town that
gave birth to David and proxy lineage does not count!
Do not get me
wrong as I have seen some people completely turn their lives around when they
became Christians. However, I have seen people completely clean up their
act after joining AA too. One girl I know was in a bad marriage and in/out of
hospitals for mental illness. She adopted the Wiccan belief, walked away from
her dead beat husband, threw her Prozac and valium down the toilet and she’s
doing wonderfull and that’s been 5 years now. I have turned my life around
by coming back to main stream Judaism and I am very happy.
Faith and spirituality are a private thing that rests within ones soul,
heart and mind. Faith, spirituality and religion are not a trading
commodity or an open cause that demeans others. There is only one way to
the Divine and that is you seeking the Divine without dogma or dictation by
mortal man and study God’s own words written in his Torah. Prayer,
mediation, and a simple: “Good Morning, God” when we awake is a wonderful
When people cross over the boundaries and tell someone their relationship
with the Divine is all wrong and they will show them the right path that demeans
the recipient and insults their intelligence. It vilifies the recipients’
relationship with the Divine and the Divines’ relationship with the recipient.
When people cross over the line through shady religious covert means is an
indication of dishonesty, deception and willful disregard for one of the most
fundamental privileges that a people can have. That privilege is to find God in
our own way.
I wish the Messianic and the Jews for Jesus the best of luck, but I also
invited them not to point fingers, make accusations, demand they get their own
way and to be content with their path to spirituality. Respect the
boundaries and do so in peace, but stop throwing the gauntlet.
from the January 2003 Edition of the Jewish Magazine