the pit

Are Messianic Gentiles Korach?

Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehas, the son of Levi, separated himself.

Bamidbar/Numbers 16:1

This verse begins the passage that deals with the rebellion of Korach, who sought to overthrow Moshe and Aharon from their positions as leaders of the Jews. The verse stresses that Korach took himself apart — that is, he deliberately sought to develop machlokes, strife between the Jews and their leaders.

-from “A Torah Thought for the Day,” p.2
Sunday’s commentary on Torah Portion Korach
A Daily Dose of Torah

Over two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called What Am I, Chopped Liver?, in which I attempted to illustrate that non-Jews who are somehow associated with the Messianic Jewish movement are not an afterthought of God or a devalued population without a role in God’s redemptive plan for Israel and the nations simply because we’re not Jewish.

I could never have predicted what happened next. As I write this (Monday afternoon) that fifteen day old blog post has collected 191 comments and counting. Apparently, I struck a nerve, a really sensitive one.

I’ve written several posts since then, but none has gained the traction of “Chopped Liver,” which is just fine.

But then I started studying for the coming week’s Torah Portion Korach.

Rashi explains that Korach wished to make the point that there was no reason for Moshe and Aharon to be seen as greater than the rest of the Jews, for all of them had been spoken to by God at Sinai. thus their assuming leadership represented a selfish act of self-promotion…

…No matter how holy the Jews, they still needed leaders — and Hashem had ordained that those leaders were to be Moshe and Aharon. Sadly, Korach refused to see the obvious answer, and came to his terrible end as a result.

ibid, pp.2-3

We need to look at Korach and his 250 followers in context. The failure of the ten spies had just occurred (see Shelah) and the Children of Israel, bewailing their fate, refused to enter the Land and conquer it. Instead, they begged for a new leader to guide them back to Egypt. Even the next morning when the people realized their error, it was too late. Hashem had already decreed that the current generation wander the desert for forty years, until the last one of them expired.

Not listening to Hashem again, the Israelites attempted to take the Land. Hashem was not with them and the local Canaanite armies easily routed Israel, sending her packing, so to speak.

From Korach’s point of view, this might all seem to be the fault of Moses and Aaron. Midrash states that Korach and his companions believed Moses had appointed himself and Aaron as leaders, and that their positions of authority did not come from Hashem. If Korach were right, then there was no absolute divine source that appointed Moses as the Leader and Prophet of Israel and he might be opposed, overthrown, and replaced. This was Korach’s intent.

Although Korach was dead wrong (literally as it turns out) and Hashem decreed his demise, I can’t think too harshly of Korach. Yes, he was misguided and confused, probably tortured by the humiliating defeat in Canaan, and the dreaded prospect of the Israelites spending the rest of their days wandering the desert of Sinai. But assuming he wasn’t just greedy for power, he probably thought he was doing the right thing, the only thing he could think of to save his people.

korach rebellionBut he lacked Moses’ perspective and his apprehension of the will of Hashem for Israel.

It is commonly thought that Korach’s sin was one of attempting to usurp the roles of Moses and Aaron and to make himself the leader and High Priest (a bit if hypocrisy if he really thought that all Israelites were complete equals).

But we “Messianic Gentiles” (or whatever you want to call us) are also trying to figure out our roles relative to Messianic Jews and within the context of Messianic Judaism. Can we Gentiles be compared to those involved in the Korach rebellion?

First of all, let’s understand how I’m using the term “Messianic Gentiles.” Why don’t I just call us “Christians?”

Well, in the most generic way of speaking, we are Christians. That is, anyone who follows Christ (Messiah) as a disciple can be called a Christian (and my Jewish wife calls me a Christian). I make the differentiation for two reasons.

The first is that, in modern times, there are a number of Jews who choose to follow the traditions of their Sages in how they observe the Torah, living like many, many other observant Jews all over the world…and yet they are also disciples of Yeshua, recognizing him as Moshiach and the coming Jewish King.

Calling them “Christians” would be a gross injustice because historically, Christianity has been directly opposed to Jews observing Torah, studying Talmud, gathering in synagogues on Shabbos, and honoring the traditions of the Sages.

The closest analog to modern Messianic Jews are the very early Jewish disciples of the Master we find in the Apostolic Scriptures, but we also have to remember that nearly two-thousand years of Judaism stand in between these two groups of Jews. And certainly by any comparison, those ancient and our modern Messianic Jews in no way resemble today’s Evangelical Christians.

The second reason is similar to the first. We Gentiles in Messiah, who associate ourselves with Messianic Judaism in terms of how we understand and study the Bible and the function of the New Covenant, are not opposed to Jews practicing Judaism in the manner of their forefathers. We have a different vision of the primacy of Israel in the current age and into the Messianic Era. We know that Yeshua is the center of God’s plan of redemption, that God’s redemption emanates from Yeshua to Israel, and only then, from Israel to the nations.

This understanding is only rarely found in any corner of mainstream Christianity, thus I refer to us as Messianic Gentiles to communicate the distinction, not to deliberately separate ourselves from the (much) larger ekklesia of Christ among the Gentiles, that is, the Christian Church.

So are we Messianic Gentiles guilty of the rebellion of Korach in seeking a role in Messianic Judaism?

Based on the initial criteria I cited at the top of this blog post, that Korach deliberately separated himself from his Israelite fellows in order to cause strife (at least according to Midrash), how can we say we have separated ourselves from Messianic Judaism if our intent is to join them, albeit as Gentiles and not Jews?

It seems more apparent that we’ve separated ourselves from the local church and from historical Christianity so it’s very likely if we are rebelling, it is against the Christian Church, not Messianic Judaism.

Mount SinaiBut what about the supposition I’m adapting from Korach, that we Gentiles are every bit as Holy to God as are the Jewish people, thus no role possessed by Jews should be denied us?

It’s difficult to make a direct comparison because Korach and his group were Levites and Israelites, so they had that in common with Moses and Aaron. We Gentiles don’t have tribe and ethnic identity in common with the Jews in Messianic Judaism. We can’t separate ourselves from something we never were in the first place.

That’s an important point because the Sinai Covenant, and for that matter the New Covenant, are both made exclusively with the Jewish people. The disciples from the nations aren’t named subjects to those covenants. It’s only by the mercy and grace of God that he has preordained “every knee will bow” and indeed, that Gentiles turning to Hashem en masse, is a rock-solid indication, based on scripture, that the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven into our world is imminent (but “imminent” in the timing of God, not necessary by the human calendar).

So if any Gentile were to claim equal rights to the Sinai and New Covenants as members and citizens of Israel, it would be the height of hubris, and indeed, pride and arrogance are things that Korach has been accused of throughout the ages. If any of we Messianic Gentiles made such a demand, we’d be on par with Korach, cut from the same cloth.

But that’s not what most of us are trying to do. We’re not claiming the Torah for our own. We are not calling Moses our Father and maybe not even our Teacher (apart from the veiled implications of Acts 15:21).

What we do want to know is, given our particular orientation as Gentiles standing on the foundation of the Jewish Bible, who are we, where do we belong, and what should we be doing?

Of course, as part of the exceptionally long dialogue on my aforementioned blog post and particularly my conversation with Rabbi Kinbar, our “place at the table” may have to be self-defined. The various leading organizations that can truly be termed “Messianic Judaism” have their hands far too full managing their own definition, identity, and role.

Korach disputed the validity of Moses and Aaron as God-assigned leaders of the Children of Israel. Are we Messianic Gentiles questioning the leadership of Jews in Messianic Judaism? Can there be a Judaism without Jews? If we non-Jews want to be part of Messianic Judaism, are the Jewish people our leaders and are we trying to “take over” Messianic Judaism from them?

Those are a lot of loaded questions.

If there are Messianic Jewish synagogues that are by and for Jews in Messiah only, then we don’t have a seat at that table and we don’t belong. If we don’t belong, they can hardly be our leaders.

If there are Messianic Jewish synagogues that welcome non-Jews as adjunct members or resident visitors and if those synagogues are led by a majority Jewish board of directors, then the board are our leaders.

synagogueThat gets a little complicated since, for instance, the local combined Reform/Conservative shul in my corner of Idaho has both Jews and Gentiles on the board, although, of course, the Rabbi is Jewish.

In a comment made by Rabbi Carl Kinbar recently:

At the same time, MJ leaders share the responsibility. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that few congregations made up preponderantly of Messianic Jews will grow large enough to support their leader full-time.

Virtually all Messianic congregations where individuals (Jew or Gentile) simply walk in the door and stay, are largely (sometimes almost completely) Gentile in make-up. This is especially true of congregations in areas where there are few Jews to begin with. Jewish practices are usually, or perhaps inevitably, reconfigured to the point of being somewhat unrecognizable. Most MJs who take their Judaism seriously feel quite alienated in that kind of environment. They also feel the need to guard themselves lest they speak or act “too Jewish” and thus offend the Gentiles (and some other Jews, too). As a traveling speaker, I have experienced enough Messianic congregations to know what I’m talking about.

That said, no congregation that walls itself in can be spiritually healthy. Congregations that have a distinct vision must have a strong and persistent determination to maintain living relationships with those who have a different vision, theology, or idea of congregational fabric.

P.S., I also believe that it is not viable, in the long term, for largely MG congregations to restrict leadership positions to Jews even when there are equally or more qualified MGs. It will not work sociologically or psychologically. A large percentage of MG children who mature in that kind of environment will leave as soon as they can. (emph. mine)

I can only imagine the matter of leadership is managed on a community-by-community basis. Thus the question of who leads and who follows is highly variable depending on whatever congregation you are attending. Synagogues with a majority non-Jewish membership will likely have a significant Gentile presence on the board, while Messianic Jewish shuls made up of a majority of Jews with only a few Gentiles (non-Jewish spouses of Jewish members perhaps) might have few to no Gentiles on the board and most certainly a Jewish person in the role of Rabbi.

In any congregation, there has to be a method of leadership whereby the members feel they are represented by such leadership. In many churches and synagogues, board members are elected by popular vote, and it is the board that hires the Pastor or Rabbi, who then is an employee of the institution and who can even be fired by the board if necessary (or their contract can simply not be renewed once it becomes due).

I’ve been in a congregation, a very organizationally unsophisticated one, where there were multiple attempts, some successful, to lead a hostile takeover, a sort of bloodless coup, either deposing the previous leader out of hand or causing a split in the group.

This is not uncommon among small but growing Hebrew Roots congregations, but it’s also been known to happen in full-fledged Christian churches (I have no idea if splits happen in mainstream Jewish synagogues since I have no direct experience).

It’s always ugly and never serves to sanctify the Name of God.

messianic judaism for the nationsSo are we Messianic Gentiles rebels with or without a cause?

I would say no. Not if we aren’t intending to take control of something that isn’t ours, that is, the covenant inheritance of the Jewish people. We have a right to seek out our own identity and role as long as the identity and role we desire doesn’t already belong to another group.

I think this is why some within Messianic Judaism would rather the Gentiles all stay in the Church, because it solves this pesky problem by using the already existing identity for Gentile believers as Christians within the Church and Jewish disciples as Jews within Judaism.

But not all Jews in Messiah agree, and as far as my experience goes, most Messianic Jewish groups in the United States have a large if not a majority Gentile population.

So I suppose as long as we Messianic Gentiles aren’t plotting to overtly or covertly take over whatever Messianic congregations we are attending, then we aren’t rebels. Of course, any group in a congregation that attempts a takeover of said-congregation outside of the formal rules would be considered rebels, regardless of the ethnic make up of the house of worship.

So if we’re not taking over Jewish synagogues and we’re not claiming the Torah and Israel to be who we are equally along with the Jews, then no, we aren’t rebels, usurpers, or thieves. We are just pilgrims on a trail, traveling a path, searching for who we are in Hashem and in Messiah.

We may never find out who we are in Messianic Judaism or in direct relation with Messianic Jews. But as I wrote just recently, we have every likelihood of discovering who we are in Messiah, and then helping and supporting Jewish Torah observance and community in anticipation of the return of Messiah and the establishment of his Kingdom in Israel and among us all.

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26 thoughts on “Are Messianic Gentiles Korach?”

  1. James,

    So if telling Gentiles to Judaize is the sin of Korach (which it wasn’t but just for sake of argument), then wouldn’t Isaiah be guilty? I mean, he promoted the ideal that all Gentiles should be circumcised when he wrote that the uncircumcised shouldn’t enter into Zion (Isaiah 52:1) and that the Temple should be a House of Prayer for all who hold fast to the Torah of Moses (e.g. Shabbat) found in the covenant (Isaiah 56).

    I don’t think you want to indict Isaiah, do you?

  2. I think you’re overreacting, Peter, though that’s not particularly a surprise. I seriously doubt Isaiah was advocating for a large scale Gentile take over of Jewish identity and purpose let alone storming the gates, so to speak, and commandeering the covenants God made with Israel. My overarching understanding of the message of the Bible as a whole is that Israel remains special and unique to God, even as the people of the nations are also loved and special (but not always in the same way as Israel is) to God. While the early non-Jewish disciples of the Messiah took up many behaviors similar to their Jewish mentors (Mark Nanos calls this “acting Jewishly without being Jewish”), that is not the same as having the Gentiles fully become Israel (which would make them Jewish) through devotion to Messiah and thus be actually obligated to the mitzvot in a manner identical to the Jews.

    Of course, you know this is my opinion. We’ve gone over this many times before. I’ve written about the Hebrew word Hashkafah in the past and my conclusion is that your “worldview” and mine differ such that we are never going to agree on the matter at hand. I simply cannot believe that Gentiles usurping Judaism in violation of prophesy is Biblically sustainable. One of the major indications of the coming of the New Covenant age is that multitudes of Gentiles turn to the God of Israel. If we, as you suggest, actually become Israel rather than being joined alongside them in the Messianic ekklesia, then no Gentile ever turns to God because the moment we do, we cease being non-Jews.

  3. “Of course, as part of the exceptionally long dialogue on my aforementioned blog post and particularly my conversation with Rabbi Kinbar, our “place at the table” may have to be self-defined.”

    I’d hate to think my great grandchildren’s “tradition” was just the voices in my head and nothing more.

    Ah well. Good post. It deals with the loaded charge that people who ask tough questions about identity are malcontents, rebels, or satanic.

  4. Thanks.

    Families have traditions, so I don’t necessarily think the “voices” in your head are invalid, Drake. Also, we don’t really have to make things up out of whole cloth, so to speak, but rather adapt what already exists. When I hear/read about some non-Jews who “observe Torah” and they describe the details of their observance, in the vast majority of cases, they aren’t “observant” in the same way as an observant Jew. Most of the time, they set aside any of the rulings of the Sages and go with their own interpretation of what “kosher” means, or exactly how to “rest” on Shabbos (which may include continuing to drive, shop, use electricity, and so on).

    In that sense, they’ve already created local traditions as “Messianic Gentiles” for their praxis, so really, we have no disagreement. What many people think of as obligation is really a voluntary construction and adherence to their adaptation of Torah commands as traditions in their lives, a reflection of how they see behaving out of devotion to God.

  5. “Most of the time, they set aside any of the rulings of the Sages and go with their own interpretation of what “kosher” means, or exactly how to “rest” on Shabbos (which may include continuing to drive, shop, use electricity, and so on).”

    Maybe so, but that’s kind of a dodge as most MJs relax it as well, as does UMJC to some extent. Me, I have meat and dairy separately, toveled my utensils, do not buy any packaged food without a hechsher. But I’m the black sheep at shul.

  6. Wonderful post James, thank you.

    It is hard to always remember (and accept, at times) that we are in a process and that a lot is being defined by the continuing discussions even if it may take years for those definitions to be clear. This will be a long and steady road that can yield much good fruit if we are patient and consistent. But we are only a part of the discussion. Communities have such discussions, the leaders take those discussions up to the next level, and from there up to the next level to where it is a much smaller group of MJ leaders having these informed discussions and making the decisions that will be passed down the chain of authority. We are only just beginning.

    Our traditions are made and kept in the home, and they are often shaped by our community, but they are generally (if not specifically) based on something much bigger than ourselves. Our family has some unique holiday traditions that other families may not have, but we’re all keeping the same holy day together at the same time and doing basically the same thing(s). This is good. When this is a beautifully done it gives our children roots and feet – both at the same time.

  7. @Drake: What I’m saying is that there’s room for group or even individual variability in our praxis. Some Messianic Gentiles/Hebrew Roots people behave as if their practice is the only one that actually is 100% to the Torah and approved of by God. In fact, as you point out, both in Judaism (not just MJ) and in all of those groups of Gentiles who say that they are “Torah observant,” in act, being “observant” isn’t exactly the same across the board.

    In mainstream Judaism, it’s a given that no Jew is perfect in their observance, even when they have a highly specified set of standards by which they are obligated. Among the goyim who, by personal or group conviction, feel led to be observant to one degree or another, that “imperfection” is present as well, and particularly because there are so many different ways people think of being “observant.

    @Lisa: Yes, exactly. In some ways, we’ve been developing both Jewish and Gentile praxis for the past 2,000 years or so and I don’t think we’ve “arrived” yet. The big shock for some non-Jews upon discovering Hebrew Roots and/or Messianic Judaism is that Christian traditions may not best represent the will of God for the non-Jewish disciple, but then again, neither do Jewish traditions as they are practiced by Jews. So where does that lead us but back into re-evaluation of who we are and what the Bible may be telling us about ourselves from a Paul Within Judaism perspective.

  8. I never said we were. In fact, it’s a comparison that’s very difficult to make. The only link between Korach’s rebellion and potentially anything we may be doing relative to Messianic Judaism, is attempting to misappropriate roles, in our case, those defined by covenant. As I hope I illustrated in this blog post, we can’t be rebels if we aren’t attempting to secure for ourselves what doesn’t belong to us. There’s no crime let alone sin in seeking out the role that God has actually assigned to us.

  9. It was difficult to find an image depicting the pit into which Korach and his group fell that was appropriately sized. I seized on the “Dark Knight Rises” pit as convenient if not symbolic.

  10. The “voices” in the head reference makes me think of a certain type of Christian who want to trump anyone they talk to by saying God told them they should do whatever it is. It’s okay to do something because you like the idea; I don’t think that amounts to made up voices. I like the roots and feet reference via Lisa. Traditions are based on something bigger than ourselves [for example, remembering or recounting and passing on Bible stories and the Creator and themes of redemption] and can be special to a family too.

  11. Jame’s said “The big shock for some non-Jews upon discovering Hebrew Roots and/or Messianic Judaism is that Christian traditions may not best represent the will of God for the non-Jewish disciple, but then again, neither do Jewish traditions as they are practiced by Jews.”

    Nice verbage…and very apt.

  12. A common refrain I hear from Jews in the movement is: “What about the Jews? What about the Jews?”

    Admittedly, it is difficult to understand what this means by most non-Jews who have no concept of what Jewish people actually experience in their family and community. We tend to decide on, and fill in the details of, what they “should” think ourselves, and will never know how our list of typical behaviors ranging from insecurities, demands, complaints, Church bashing–which is a given among “observant” Gentiles, yet rarely ever heard from Jews–attempted identity theft, and general tone deafness to their perspectives and needs, affects them. Few are willing to take the time to get to know them, and their history which would provide an understanding of what they mean by: “What about the Jews?”

    (Sorry if this came through already as I cannot tell on the phone.)

  13. SWJ ~
    I strongly suspect that your perspective may grow a bit, maybe even positively, if you were to spend time with actual MGs rather than HR adherents and their friends. There is a tremendous difference and it’s unfair to lump everyone into one group, particularly as we’re working so hard to make the distinction between the two.

    Marlene ~
    I’m glad you liked that reference. 🙂 I did too.

    When I read the portion this week I had a thought similar to James’ but not exactly the same. I remembered the telling of the story of the wives of the men involved in leading the rebellion. They fanned the flames in their husband’s hearts and encouraged them in their bitterness & arrogance. But one woman was different. She recognized the foolishness that her husband’s friends were leading him into and she fed him well, got him to drink much wine, and when he fell asleep she presented herself at the door of their home in such a way that his friends would not come to rouse him. She saved his life, and the lives of her household.

    We as MGs are sometimes compared to the wife in a marriage; each spouse has their roles and their parts to play, equal but distinct and unique. As MGs we have a choice which wife we want to be – the one who builds her home (even if it means a bit of extra food & wine) and helps her husband find life. Or we can be the one who presses for things that aren’t ours and fans the flames of a bitter fire that leads to death, these households ultimately found death.

  14. Lisa, in Sojourning’s defense, I know she’s attended a number of FFOZ events and has close ties to at least one member of the FFOZ staff, so it’s not like she’s unacquainted with Messianic Gentiles. I may have even met her once or twice myself.

    Admittedly, this is a difficult topic to navigate. I’ve been attempting (I think we all have) to balance the needs of two different groups that exist within a single Messianic ekklesia (even if that community is spiritual and virtual rather than a physical location). It is important to show the proper respect and consideration to both of these groups without elevating one at the cost of devaluing the other.

    That’s not an easy task.

  15. @Lisa:

    I’m not sure why you think I don’t know any MG, lol. And, as I’ve stated before, I have advocated for gentile inclusion in MJ congregations, including when the leadership was on the verge of excluding all Gentiles who were not intimately involved (intermarried) with a Jew.

    That should say something about how problematic these issues are. However, from experience, most assume that it’s an example of “Jewish elitism”. Yet, this is not what I’ve experienced! They are trying to survive under a lot of burdens that we are generally tone deaf to, and yes, even MG’s!

    I do not intend to offend you or anyone Lisa, but I often wonder where “my Jews” can find a place where they can be spiritually nurtured and where they aren’t pushed aside, often due to lack of knowledge. Trying to advocate for them is usually met with offense by both MG and Christians. RE: HR, I don’t really know any.

    I’ve found there is less daylight than you would think between Christian attitudes toward Jewish people and MGs, and I think this should be challenged.

    I didn’t lump all in the same group as you say, I listed 6 general categories that we tend to fall into, although there are a few more. Get close enough to any Jew in the movement and you’ll likely hear the same list.

    “As MGs we have a choice which wife we want to be – the one who builds her home (even if it means a bit of extra food & wine) and helps her husband find life. Or we can be the one who presses for things that aren’t ours and fans the flames of a bitter fire that leads to death, these households ultimately found death.”

    You state the metaphor well Lisa, yet consider that it’s literally true for those like James and myself who are literally married to Jews and have the weight of all that goes with it.

  16. SWJ ~

    I am not offended but I am puzzled a bit why after this particular blog post it is helpful to speak, again, of non-Jews who do not have close relationships with Jewish people and those who behave in ways you described in the comment above. The “messianic” people I know who fit the description(s) you gave above are not, in my experience, the people that James is describing in his blog post above.

    The viewpoint that I understand from your messages give me the impression that you must know a lot of strange and maybe insincere “messianics” so that having an opportunity to get to know a different type of non-Jew may be refreshing and encouraging. My hope was to encourage some dialogue with a different type of MG than what you may be more familiar with, based on the descriptions I read. I have no desire or thought to offend or insult in any way. I apologize to you and to James if my words came across as offensive or defensive.

    Yes, I do hear a similar sentiment that you’ve mentioned from my Jewish friends but I also tend hear positives about the sincere MGs and among my friends, those positives are spoken of more often than the negative traits of others who are not part of our circles are discussed. I guess I’m just not so accustomed to hearing statements of how bad people are and feel like my friends and I are being lumped into an unfair category just to make a point. Just like there is a distinction between MJ and MG, there is a necessary distinction to be recognized between the MG and another.

    Yes, the metaphor does fit many of my friends as well.

  17. “…I am puzzled a bit why after this particular blog post it is helpful to speak, again, of non-Jews who do not have close relationships with Jewish people and those who behave in ways you described in the comment above”

    The theme is rebellion, appropriate leadership, who leads and who follows, and metaphorically applying this issue between Jews and other Jews, to a Jews and non-Jews scenario. In light of that, I think it is appropriate to bring up what is commonly said by Jews in this movement as we non-Jews discuss the appropriateness of what we expect, and in some cases demand, from it.

    I sat with a few leaders the other night who again said: “what about the Jews? Why don’t the Gentiles in this movement care about the Jews?” I get their perspective, now, because I’ve seen the scenario play out so many times and have witnessed what some do (to my own family) yet I cannot seem to articulate this in a way where these MGs who supposedly have it all dialed in regarding the Jews, actually become concerned about them. There definitely are some, however, very few.

    “The viewpoint that I understand from your messages give me the impression that you must know a lot of strange and maybe insincere “messianics” so that having an opportunity to get to know a different type of non-Jew may be refreshing and encouraging.”

    It is refreshing, but rare. Virtually everyone thinks it isn’t them or their group. Seriously. And, hopefully no offense, it’s a similar scenario to when a Christian is confronted with Christian anti-Semitism or the fact that there were baptized, pew-sitting “Christians” who helped perpetrate the Holocaust. As you probably know, with one accord Christians say: “they weren’t real Christians!”

    I know folks anywhere from Christians open to more Jewish understanding of scripture, to the many varied “messianic” perspectives, up to those who order their lives around Orthodox Jewish halachah, many of which are amazing people who I care for. I’m not judging any of them, I’m stating that many Jews in this movement are discouraged, and that should concern all of us—especially those who claim to love them.

    Many Jews love Christians, and are more than appreciative of their light and love and do not condemn them or say they are mired in “paganism” which is the common refrain of Gentiles in the messianic movement, whatever you may wish to call them. I’m not at all sure Jews are encouraged by Gentiles who take on Jewish tradition and become “Torah observant”, however, at least I don’t know any. Yet Torah observance—on whatever level—seems to be the greater focus of MG, rather than learning how to come alongside and love God’s chosen people. But then again, it’s not an easy road.

    Thanks for taking time to respond Lisa, hopefully we will understand each other’s perspective better.

  18. Sojourning commented that some Gentiles in Messiah don’t seem to “get” the role of the Jewish people in the Messianic movement.

    Rabbi Stuart Dauermann just published a blog post called When Jews Who Believe in Yeshua Become Anti-Judaism.

    There are at least some non-Jews associated with Messianic Judaism who, while they may not think faith in Yeshua and Rabbinic Judaism are mutually exclusive, are still puzzled why many MJs feel strongly about living a wholly observant Jewish lifestyle and don’t “get” the Rabbis.

    Rabbi Dauermann puts a face on those Yeshua-believing Jews who also tend to not “get” the Rabbis and even feel it necessary to denigrate them and Judaism.

    Just thought I should pass this along.

  19. He starts out mentioning that some people hate the Jewish state because it is the Jewish state (and I’d recommend looking at the further bit of detail he puts into the opening of the article as I’m not going to replay it at the moment). I will add that there are Jews who very much and stringently respect the rabbis and aren’t “Messianic” at all who are viscerally against there ever being a temple again (at the very least one that would include sacrifices, and without sacrifices then why). So, I don’t know what the particular people I’m thinking of think of Israel as a whole (I think they are “pro”), but they are not pro temple (which can also be interpreted as anti-Judaism although there are rabbis [even in Israel] who are against the modern state of Israel itself).

  20. I’m not saying who should be pro… temple, modern state, whatever… Just that there are different stances. A gentile shouldn’t come along and define that “this” bunch is real or what matters and I will push every Jew and gentile aside who doesn’t agree with me because I’m the one who knows. I do agree with Stuart Dauermann that it’s a very problematic (not sure this was his word) place to be denigrating traditions (and people who have taught them) that have held the Jewish people together and that find them still extant through time.

  21. I know that there are observant Jews who oppose the existence of the modern state of Israel because they believe it should be established by Messiah. There are plenty of liberal Jews who oppose Israel’s existence because they believe the mainstream news media’s narrative that Israel really belongs to the Arab “Palestinians.”

    And yet Biblically, you really can’t separate the Jewish people from the Jewish nation. They belong together, and prophesy says that Messiah will restore all the Jews to their Land. God didn’t say a thing about the Jews having to share Israel with Arabs or any other people. They have their own lands. The Arabs should go and live their and leave Israel to the Jews.

    In Messianic days after King Messiah defeats Israel’s enemies, it will all be set straight.

  22. I understand. I’m saying if someone is going to say how Jews feel or think, it really has to be said there isn’t one definition.

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