|"If Yeshua is the
Messiah, and if he fulfilled the prophecies concerning the messiah found in the Tanakh,
then obviously it is the most Jewish thing in the world to believe in Him. In fact,
if he is the Messiah, then all Jewish people everywhere should accept Him without
The key to
answering the questions above is to study the prophecies and writings found in
all three sections of the
Tanakh. "When you
seek Me, you will find Me, provided you seek for Me wholeheartedly."
(Torah - Deuteronomy 4:29;
Nevi'im - Jeremiah 29:13; Ketuvim - Proverbs 8:17).
During the twelfth century,
Maimonides (Rambam) attempted to counter Christian
interpretations of Hebrew Scripture, so he provided an alternative Jewish response for the
Jewish people. He wrote,
"All the books of
the prophets (Nevi'im) and all the Sacred Writings
(Ketuvim) will ultimately be annulled
in the era of the Moshiach, except for the book of Esther." 2
(Esther is the story of God's deliverance from the schemes of Haman.
Purim is to
be remembered throughout every
generation). Consequently, few Jews today seriously read and study the Nevi'im (prophets)
and Ketuvim (writings).
Nonetheless, these Scriptures are still
considered part and parcel of the Hebrew Bible, and have significant information for us
today about the Messiah and his appearance. Ignoring the study of these important
Tanakh scriptures results in missing key messianic prophecies concerning Israel, the
nations, and the Messiah himself.
1967 recapture of Jerusalem by Israel,
thousands of Jewish people have begun to read and study the Tanakh and have discovered
God's promises concerning the restoration of Israel. In doing so, they have also
discovered prophecies regarding the messiah. For instance: how to
recognize him, what he would do, why he would come, where he would
appear, and when he would arrive.
During the last 2,000 years there have
Jewish people who have believed that Yeshua is Israel's promised Messiah. But within
the last thirty years, since 1967, many thousands of Jews have embraced Yeshua Messiah with
eagerness. The phenomena of the Messianic Jewish movement is that it is not man's
doing, but God's, and the movement dates back for two millenniums.
Today, there are tens of thousands of Messianic
believers worldwide with congregations and fellowships emerging in every part of the
world, including many in the Land of Israel. Messianic Judaism is a biblically based
movement of Jewish and non-Jewish people who have come to accept Yeshua (Jesus)
as the promised messiah. Yeshua in Hebrew means Salvation. Messianic Judaism
is a renewal of the covenant God made with Israel and Judah, spoken of by Jeremiah the
prophet in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
A Jewish Riddle
"Who has gone up to heaven
and come down?
Who has cupped the
wind in the palms of his hands?
Who has wrapped up
the waters in his cloak?
all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what
is his son's name?
Surely you know!"
Are the claims of Yeshua and his disciples to be
believed? Yeshua said this about himself, "for
if you really believed Moshe, you would believe me; because it was about me that he
wrote." (John 5:46). By this, Yeshua was simply saying, if
the writings of Moses and Torah of God are not taken seriously, then how can someone
claiming to be the Jewish Messiah be taken seriously.
Did Moses Write Down Everything?
In recent years, religious legislation was introduced in
the Knesset in Israel that, if enacted, would send Messianic Jews to prison
and fine them if they use the Hebrew Scriptures to discuss Yeshua the
Over the centuries rabbis have exercised their
authority to interpret the manner in which the traditions of our people are to be
observed, traditions which are said to be based upon the Oral Law that was spoken by
to Moses, and passed down from generation to generation.
However, Exodus 24:3-7 states
this: "Moshe came and
told the people everything Adonai had said, including all the rulings. The people
answered with one voice: 'We will obey every word Adonai has spoken.' Moshe
wrote down all the words of Adonai... Then he took the book of the covenant and
read it aloud, so that the people could hear; and they responded, 'Everything that Adonai
has spoken, we will do and obey.'"
This passage from the Torah states that Moses
wrote down ALL the words of Adonai - ALL the instruction of God. If the written
Torah and Tanakh are correct, could there be rabbinical
interpretations that teach something different, and apart from the Tanakh? Rabbis, being only human, can be wrong.
example we find in the Tanakh:
Isaiah 7:14 speaks of an
extraordinary birth for the Messiah that will be a sign to the people.
states that Messiah will be killed before the destruction of the Second Temple and
Jerusalem in 70 CE.
declares that the Messiah will come for both Jews and non-Jews.
Some Jews believe that a rabbi who died in the 1990's is the promised messiah. And
over the centuries there have been many "so called" Jewish messiahs.
There are even Jews who do not believe that God exists. Yet, all are still
considered to be Jewish by most Jews. But if a Jew believes in Yeshua,
then many Jews, including the government of Israel, say those believers in
Yeshua are no longer Jews. Do you see the irony of it all - especially
given the fact that Yeshua was born in Israel and is Jewish.
Jews who claim
to be agnostic or
honestly call themselves Jews?
ANSWER: The story of the Jewish
people is about
relationship with them. To not believe
in God is to deny one's Jewish identity.
So what is wrong if a Jewish person expresses a
belief in Yeshua ben David of Nazareth as the messiah? Whether one agrees or
disagrees with our conclusions about Yeshua, should not every Jew have the right to decide
this, and other matters of religion, for himself? If Yeshua is the promised
messiah - is it Jewish to ignore him?
One of the underlying fears is, that a Jew who
accepts Yeshua will stop being Jewish and become something else, namely
"Christian." Sadly to say, there are Jews who have accepted Yeshua and
dropped their Jewish identity and heritage. They have assimilated away from their Jewish
communities and have assumed other cultural identities.
Ancient Hebrew script spelling the name Yeshua which literally means 'salvation'
It Was Not Always So
2,000 years ago, Jews who believed in and
followed the teachings of Yeshua were considered a Jewish sect within
Judaism - namely
Nazarenes. This is what one historical source says about this Nazarene
make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old
Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the
Prophets, and the Writings... so that they are approved of by
the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything; and they
profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the
customs of the Jews, except they believe in Christ (the anointed one)."
Panarion 30:18; 39:7, 375-400 C.E.
Yeshua never lived apart from
his Jewish community nor did he forsake Torah. Yeshua spoke,
"Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish but to
complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so
much as a yud
(smallest Hebrew letter) or stroke will pass from the
Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. So whoever disobeys the
least of these mitzvot (commandments) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom
of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom
The rabbis taught that to observe the Torah was
to complete and fulfill it. To disregard the Torah was to nullify or abolish it.
Yeshua was clearly stating his attitude towards the Torah. He never taught
that his Jewish followers should ignore Torah. Rather, Yeshua states
that those who disregard the commandments of God and teach others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not surprisingly,
there are many today who fall into this first category described by
Yeshua. Likewise, a careful study of Rav Shaul's (Paul)
writtings (most of which were written to non-Jews) reveals that he
did not teach that Jewish believers in Yeshua should forsake the Torah.
An Orthodox scholar and rabbi,
described Yeshua as a traditional, observant Jew. He wrote,
never and nowhere broke the law of Moses, nor did he in any way provoke its infringement -
it is entirely false to say that he did... In this respect you must believe me, for
I know my Talmud... this Jesus was as faithful to the law as I would hope to
be. But I suspect that Jesus was more faithful to the law than I am - and I am an
Orthodox Jew." 3
Messianic Jews and non-Jews are simply saying
this, "Jewish people who believe and accept Yeshua as their Messiah do not need to
lose their identity as Jews." Yeshua lived a Jewish lifestyle while honoring
God and the Torah. It is very Jewish indeed to accept Yeshua the Messiah and live as