What Is Messianic Judaism?

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 tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone - some have estimated the number to be as high as 150,000. Messianic Congregations and Synagogues are springing up in almost every major city across the country including San Diego. Other nations such as Canada, England, France, Israel, and Argentina 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 is in reality not so simple. If we go back 2,000 years, historically, we find that Yeshua was a Jew living in a Jewish land among Jewish people. All of His followers were Jewish as well as the writers of the B’rit Chadasha (New Covenant) and for many years this faith in Yeshua was strictly a Jewish one.

From the B’rit Chadasha and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century C.E. there were literally hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews. (1) In addition, there were Messianic Congregations/Synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. (2) These first-century Messianic Jews remained highly loyal to their land and their people.

Whether it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua was never an issue. Of course it was Jewish! What else could it be? The biggest 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 alike, then Gentiles from every nation began to pour into this Jewish faith.

Through the years, as the numbers of Gentile believers increased, they began to predominate in this Messianic Jewish faith. With the passing on of the Jewish s’chlichim (apostles) and the early Messianic Jews, the Jewish roots of the faith were eventually lost. This “De-Judaizing” process continued until one of the greatest paradoxes in history; it became alien for a Jewish person to believe in Yeshua as his Messiah.

1 Acts 2:41; 2:47; 4:4; 6:7; 9:31; 21:20

2 Ya’akov (James) 1:1; 2:2

The Real Issue

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 C.E., 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 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. According to the Jewish Scriptures, the Messiah was to come twice; the first time to suffer and die and the second time to usher in the Messianic era of peace upon the earth.

Why did the Messiah have to die?

The Jewish prophet Isaiah answered this question when he said,

  1. “Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of Adonai revealed? For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him. In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed. We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet Adonai laid on Him (Messiah) the guilt of all of us.” (Isaiah 53:1-6)

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 tens of thousands of us today, we know that we have found the Messiah who said “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.” (Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17)

We would like to encourage you to read and study the Jewish Scriptures 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.

Other Messianic references from the Jewish Scriptures
Isaiah 9:6-7 - Messiah to be born and to reign on Kind David’s throne
Micah 5:2 - says the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.
Isaiah 7:14 - extraordinary birth of the Messiah that will be a sign to the people
Daniel 9:24-25 - the Messiah will be killed before the destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Isaiah 49:6 - declares that the Messiah will come for both Jews and non-Jews.