Messianic Judaism
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: Dear Rabbi,
Hello. My name is xxxx. I am 16 years old and have been born and raised "Jewish." I put that in quotes because even though I was told that I am Jewish I only went to Hebrew School for a year and was never able to learn much about my religion but was always proud to be able to be a part of such an amazing heritage.
I may not be extremely educated in Judaism but I am a strong believer in God. Recently my mother was lead in a different direction and found Jesus and had accepted him into her life. She still considers herself to be Jewish and has titled herself to be a Messianic Jew. It's been extremely hard or me to adjust to the drastic change. Within the last year and a half there were many changes that I was forced to accommodate to. I have tried very hard to understand her beliefs and where she is coming from, but there are many things about her beliefs that just do not make sense to me.
She says that she is still Jewish yet, from what I understand about the religion, she is going against many things that Jewish people have been fighting for, for so many years. I was hoping that you could please help me better understand certain aspects of messianic beliefs and answer some questions that have been running through my head.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read my letter. It would mean so much to me if you could somehow help me to find my way out of my state of confusion. I will be looking forward to your reply.
Sincerely, xxxx.
Mesora: Thank you for writing me. I will respond after each of your questions below.
Reader: Question 1: I understand that the Tanach is the Torah, also known as the Jewish Bible. My mother, who reads the Bible religiously, says that the Bible can answer any question. Does the Tanach state anything about Messianic Judaism, and if so what does it say?
Mesora: Before I answer, please note something you just did: You accepted your mother's statement and based a question to me on this acceptance. You should always question your premises until you see an idea as clear as 2+2=4. I am referring to when you accepted your mother's statement of "the Bible can answer any question". True, the Torah - not the Christian Bible - contains all the knowledge we need for our lives dedicated to understanding and following God. I felt it important to clarify your mother's words, and point out a lesson to you. Having said that, let me answer your first question. If by Messianic Judaism you mean a Judaism which recognizes Jesus as the messiah, Judaism does not recognize Jesus. He did not fulfill God's requirements which determine one as the messiah. Additionally, Jesus does not follow God's Torah principles. He violated God's Torah principles of not adding or subtracting to the Torah's words. This means he does not follow God. Jesus also wished to violate the Rabbis, who God said we must follow. The Rabbi attested to Jesus's breaking of the commands. So we see that those who God entrusted to interpret the Torah - the Rabbis - unanimously said Jesus did not follow this Torah.
Reader: Question 2: Is Messianic Judaism true to the "real" Jewish beliefs?
Mesora: As I stated above, Messianic Judaism is not Judaism. As soon as one law is not upheld, the entire system is no longer the original Torah which God said we must never alter at all. God knew the future, which would include Jesus and other false prophets. He therefore wished the Torah be intact throughout all generations. To achieve this goal, God included in the 613 commandments the laws of not adding to, or subtracting from the Torah.
Reader: Question 3: What, aside from believing in Yeshua, is the main difference between Messianic Judaism and Traditional Judaism?
Mesora: That difference alone renders Messianic Judaism as no longer Judaism. No other difference makes it any "worse", although there are many deviations from God's words. Once it is not Judaism, additional deviations cannot make it "further" from Judaism. If either one, or all commandments are changed, it is no longer Judaism. It is akin to saying "Once the animal is slaughtered, can I make it 'dead' any further?" Just as the slaughtered animal cannot be killed any further, so too, Messianic Judaism is not Judaism at all. Deviations in addition to primary corruptions are irrelevant.
Reader: Question 4: I have heard from many sources that Messianic Judaism's beliefs are far from Traditional Jewish beliefs. Many have even gone as far as saying that it is pure Christianity. What are your views on the topic; and what do you know about Messianic Judaism?
Mesora: If Messianic "Jews" believe Jesus to be God, they are practicing idolatry. There are no other forces but God alone.
Reader: Question 5: Messianics state that they study the Torah through the Bible. It is my understanding that the Bible does in fact have the Old Testament in there along with the New Testament. How is it possible to study the Torah through the Bible, aren't they just simply reading the Old Testament? And what is the difference between the New and Old Testaments? And why don't Jewish people read the New Testament? What is the difference between the Old Testament and the Tanach?
Mesora: What God gave to man has been proved via the event at Sinai. There, God gave the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, in a written form to about 3 million people. The event was witnessed, and passed down through the ages. This account reached us today, as it did the rest of the world. This is only possible if this event occurred. Masses witnessing Sinai created the undeniable truth about that portion of history. It is through this method, that all other events in history are accepted today as 100% accurate. Judaism is the only religion to lay claim to such an event. All other religions are based on the word of one or a few people. Such stories require others to simply believe with blind faith. There is no way to disprove these stories, even though God disagrees with them, and would not contradict Himself. The followers of these other religions choose to believe in Jesus, Mohammed and others. Their attachment to emotionally appealing stories lures them away from realizing a rational proof available in the Torah. A proof, the method of which, they use in other areas of life.
Our Torah consists not only of the Written Law - the Five Books of Moses - but also in the Oral Law communicated to Moses by God, and all the words of the Prophets and Writings. We do not recognize that which was not through the Prophets. And it must be clear that only those Prophets recognized by authoritative Orthodox Jewish Rabbis have been unanimously recognized to the exclusion of all others. There is no dispute who is a prophet, and who is not. It is therefore audacious that another group called Christians should try to teach us what we unanimously know is false, that being their suggestion that Jesus was recognized by God. God's chosen nation has more accurate information than those who pop up centuries later. It is futile for the the New Testament to borrow the Old Testament's fame by plagiarizing its name. In fact, their forgery is really proof to their acceptance of Judaism's authenticity. One only forges that which he feels is real.
Reader: Question 6: How is it possible for Messianic believers to call themselves Jewish when they seem to go against so many things that Jewish people believe in and have been fighting for for so many years?
Mesora: As I said in my very last statement, this is the method used by counterfeits: They borrow terms from the authentic source, as an attempt to cover up their fallacy, just to develop a facade of credibility. Without such a facade, their content will be easily refuted as false. But unfortunately, most people judge a book by its cover, and they believe the lies. "Tell the world a lie enough times, and they will swear it is truth." This is why the Palestinians gain sympathy from certain groups.
I strongly suggest that your mother examine her views from a rational standpoint. She will see the contradictions and inconsistencies. God created only one, complete, unchanging system. This is the best prescription for mankind.

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