Questions That Non-Jewish People Frequently Ask

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Questions that Non-Jewish People Frequently Ask

 1. Should I try to persuade my Jewish neighbor to believe in Yeshua (Jesus)?

 2. Why do Jews, especially non-religious ones, reject Yeshua?

 3. Should I invite my Jewish neighbor to my church?

 4. What is a Messianic Congregation?

 5. Why do Messianic Jews still keep parts of the Law of Moses; after all, wasn't the Law done away with?

 6. What theology do Messianic Jews follow--Covenant Theology or Dispensational Theology?

 7. Do Jewish people use the Old Testament, or is their Bible different from ours?

 8. What is the Talmud?

 9. Is there any relationship between the Jewish customs and the Christian ones?

10. Should Christians celebrate Passover or any of the other Jewish holidays?


Should I try to persuade my Jewish neighbor to believe in Yeshua (Jesus)?

Yeshua commanded us to go out into all the world and make talmidim [disciples] (see Matt. 28:19-20), beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria (Acts 1:8). Even Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul), who was called “the apostle to the Gentiles,” said that the Good News of Messiah should go to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). Sha'ul was so convicted by the need for Jews to receive salvation that he was willing to give up his own salvation if this would have brought salvation to the Jewish people (Rom. 9:2-4). The salvation of the Jewish people was a priority in the lives of both Sha'ul and Yeshua, and it should be a priority in the life of every Believer. It is every Believer's duty to share the Good News of Yeshua with their Jewish neighbor. Rabbi Sha'ul said that “it is by means of their [the Jews] stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy” (Rom. 11:11, CJB). Every Believer is called upon to make the Jewish people jealous, so that they will want to hear the Good News. For more detailed information, see You Bring the Bagels, I'll Bring the Gospel: Sharing the Messiah with Your Jewish Neighbor, and Complete Jewish Bible.

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Why do Jews, especially non-religious ones, reject Yeshua?

It is a common misconception that Jewish people are experts on the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible or so-called “Old Testament”) and that after much study they have decided that Yeshua is not the Messiah. The truth is that most Jewish people know far less about the Bible than the average Christian. In fact, most don't even study the Bible at all except for the Torah portions (from the first five books of the Bible, or the Pentateuch) that are read every Shabbat. In most cases, if they study at all, what they study is the oral tradition, or Talmud. Those who reject Yeshua do so primarily because of the way in which He has been portrayed by the Church down through the centuries. There has been so much persecution of Jews by so-called “Christians” (e.g., the Crusades, Inquisition, Holocaust, “Christian anti-Semitism,” “replacement theology,” and modern-day white supremacist groups) that the Jewish community has rejected Yeshua without even knowing what He taught. For more detailed information, see Our Hands are Stained with Blood, and Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.

I am convinced that very few Jewish people have ever been introduced to the real, historical Yeshua HaNatzret. The “Jesus” presented by the Church in general is a terribly distorted Gentile caricature of the Historical Yeshua, and is considered by good Jewish Bible scholarship a false prophet who can certainly not be the Messiah of Israel. See Jesus Christ the False Prophet.

Another extremely serious issue is the gross antisemitism exhibited (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally) by most church members. See Antisemitism in the Church. It is relatively common for a well-meaning church member, upon finding out your guest is Jewish, to blurt out something like “unless you repent and accept Jesus as your Savior, you are going to go to hell.”

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Should I invite my Jewish neighbor to my church?

I used to say yes, but now I feel I need to be very careful in that area. If your church presents a distorted image of Yeshua, or has members who are going to confront your guest (see the section immediately above), I would recommend against inviting your neighbor to church. You will very likely only drive him/her farther away from Messiah Yeshua.

What would be better would be to locate a nearby Messianic congregation and invite your Jewish neighbor to attend services there with you.

If you decide to invite him/her to church, before you do so you will need to build some bridges and develop sensitivities toward the Jewish people. You Bring the Bagels, I'll Bring the Gospel: Sharing the Messiah with Your Jewish Neighbor is an excellent book that contains detailed information on this subject. For information about why your friend might not want to attend worship services with you, see Our Hands are Stained with Blood, and Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.

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What is a Messianic Congregation?

“Messianic congregations are a recent phenomenon on the pages of ecclesiastical history, but they have a heritage that extends back to the earliest period of the New Covenant faith. … Messianic congregations are part of the ecclesia [a Greek word meaning ‘called out ones,’ referring to the gathering together of believers in the Messiah]. However, they refer to themselves as congregations or synagogues to reflect and communicate the Jewishness of the Messianic faith to a people [the Jews] who have mistakenly come to associate belief in Jesus the Messiah with anti-Semitism.” (Excerpted from Return of the Remnant: The Rebirth of Messianic Judaism.) [See also David Chernoff’s excellent article “What is Messianic Judaism?”]

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Why do Messianic Jews still keep parts of the Law of Moses;
after all, wasn't the Law done away with?

Part of the problem with understanding the answer to this question is a misunderstanding of the word “Law” itself. The Hebrew word that is commonly translated as “Law” is “Torah,” which is better translated as “loving instruction.” It was the “legalism” of the first-century Jewish leaders that was done away with, certainly not God’s loving instruction to His covenant people. When a Jewish person becomes a follower of Yeshua, he does not cease being a Jew. Yeshua said that he did not come to do away with the Torah, but to fulfill it (see Matt. 5:17-19). Yeshua also said that Torah is for all time. “… I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud [the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet] or a stroke [of any individual letter] will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened” (Matt. 5:18).

In addition, Ya`akov (James) and the elders of the congregation in Jerusalem told Rabbi Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) that many tens of thousands [“ten thousand” was the largest number in their vocabulary] of Jewish people had believed in Yeshua and were zealously following Torah (Acts 21:20). Thus, the early Jewish believers (approx. 30 years after Yeshua's death and resurrection) were still “zealously” following Torah. See also Is Obedience to Torah for Today? and Torah-Keeping in Messianic Judaism. For more detailed information, see Torah Rediscovered.

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What theology do Messianic Jews follow—Covenant Theology or Dispensational Theology?

Although some Messianic Jews follow one or the other of these two theologies, many follow neither. Although Messianic Judaism has not yet clearly developed its own formalized theology, most Messianic Believers extract truths from both of these theologies. Detailed information can be found in Messianic Jewish Manifesto, and in condensed form in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel.

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Do Jewish people use the Old Testament, or is their Bible different from ours?

Almost all Jewish people, and many Messianic non-Jewish people, actually object to the term “Old Testament” because of what the term implies. “Testament” means “covenant” and “old” means something that has been replaced and is no longer of any value. The covenants that God made with Israel are everlasting, and will therefore never be “old.”

The Hebrew Bible is called the Tanakh (or TNK), an acronym for Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The contents of the Tanakh are identical with the so-called “Christian Old Testament.” However, the order in which the books appear are different, and the chapter and verse divisions are sometimes different by a verse or two. The order in which the books appear in the Tanakh is based upon the Hebrew text, whereas their order in in the “Christian Old Testament” is based on the Greek translation (the Septuagint) of the Hebrew text. The Complete Jewish Bible includes both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings (so-called “B'rit Chadasha” or “Renewed Covenant,” also called the “Apostolic Scriptures” or “New Testament”) with the books of the Tanakh in their original Hebrew order and with their original Hebrew titles.

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What is the Talmud?

The Talmud consists of the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Mishnah is a compilation of the Jewish Oral Law (or Oral Torah) that was codified in 220 CE. Orthodox Judaism believes that the Oral Law (corresponding to what the Apostolic Writings [the so-called “New Testament”] call “the tradition of the elders”) was given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Gemara completes the Talmud by providing commentary on the Mishnah. It was compiled between the second and fifth centuries CE. The English-only version of the Talmud (by Soncino Press) contains 20 volumes. Most Messianic Jews do not accept the Talmud as the authoritative Word of God, but rather as a valuable commentary that is of significant value in the interpretation of the inspired Text. There are a number of excellent books available that will provide an introductory knowledge of the Talmud.

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Is there any relationship between the Jewish customs and the Christian ones?

Yes. The practice of “communion,” or the “Lord’s Supper” comes directly from the Passover meal (called the Seder) and the practice of baptism comes from immersion (t'vilah) in a special pool of water (mikveh). The Jewish marriage ceremony is also very similar to the marriage feast of the Lamb. For more detailed information, see God’s Appointed Customs: A Messianic Jewish Guide to the Biblical Lifecycle and Lifestyle and God’s Appointed Times: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays.

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Should Christians celebrate Passover or any of the other Jewish holidays?

Absolutely! The term “Jewish holidays” is actually a misnomer. Nowhere does Scripture refer to “Jewish Holidays,” but rather to the “Feasts of ADONAI.” Thus the feasts and festivals that are described in the Scriptures are not Israel’s feasts, but rather they are God’s feasts to which He invites all His covenant people, whether “natural born” or “grafted in.” Yeshua observed the biblical holidays during his earthly life. In addition, Rabbi Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) exhorted the Corinthian Believers (there were many non-Jews in that synagogue) to celebrate the seder (1 Cor. 5:8). The biblical feasts were given to teach, in a practical way, more about the nature of God and his plan for mankind. For example, Passover is rich in the symbolism of the Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. For more detailed information, see God’s Appointed Customs: A Messianic Jewish Guide to the Biblical Lifecycle and Lifestyle and God’s Appointed Times: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays, plus these other books about the Feasts of ADONAI.

GO HERE for more about the Moadim (Feasts and Festivals). A list of their dates is HERE.

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Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:21 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)