The growth of the Jews for Jesus and Messianic movements in Israel, especially during Israel’s 60th Anniversary, is unprecedented and an outcome of unrestrained relationships with evangelical Christians. There are more than 15,000 “Messianic Jews” residing in Israel and more than 275,000 in the Diaspora.
Some Israeli politicians and prominent rabbis are associating with “Messianic Jews,” inadvertently lending them credibility. Other rabbis are outraged about a “Messianic Jew” in the International Bible Quiz for Jewish youth, and for a boycott. Of grave concern are the actions of messianic lawyer Calev Myers who has been fighting in the Israeli Supreme Court for messianic rights, including initiating changes in the law-of-return that with help messianic missionaries become Israeli citizens.
Myers and the messianic movement are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the Israeli public. It is misleading for them to claim that the only difference between “messianic Jews” and other Jews, is their belief that Jesus is the Messiah. This was highlighted by Myers’ recent quote in the Jerusalem Post comparing messianic Jews to messianic Chabadniks. In fact, “Messianic Jews” intentionally avoid mentioning a fundamental difference. In addition to believing Jesus is the Messiah, they believe he is God in the flesh and part of a Trinity. Beliefs considered idolatrous by all denominations of Judaism.
As early as 1980, Jews for Jesus founder Moshe Rosen in his book “Sharing the New Life with a Jew,” advised messianic missionaries to avoid mentioning their belief in the deity of Jesus because it makes witnessing to Jews extremely difficult. Additionally, attempts by the messianic movement to prove their theology from biblical and rabbinic sources are based on misquotations and mistranslations.
Even before Christianity, Jews rejected these anti-Jewish non-monotheistic beliefs. We also realize they were introduced into Christianity due to the influence of pagan cult gods like Osiris and Dionysus.
Obviously there are other differences. “Messianic Jews” accept the Greek New Testament as divinely inspired scripture and they believe that all Jews who don't believe in Jesus face eternal damnation in hell. However, historically it is their idolatrous beliefs that have ultimately placed “Jews who believe in Jesus” outside the pale of Judaism.
Christian friendship is appreciated; however we must stop pandering to Christianity and call for truth in advertising by the messianic movement. We should also call on “messianic Jews” to reject these foreign beliefs and return to the pure monotheistic unity of God that defines our identity and personal relationship with God.
Jews for Judaism is doing its part. Our recently opened Jerusalem office is our sixth international center responding to deceptive missionaries and providing respected educational and counseling services to the Jewish community, helping Jews rediscover and return to their heritage.