Frequently Asked Questions
This section reflects the most common and typical questions. This page does not attempt to answer every question, nor are these answers considered exhaustive. Please keep in mind that the information below is to address Jewish issues concerning Yeshua the Messiah. If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please click here -- shalom!
What is Messianic Judaism?
Messianic Judaism is simply the belief in the Messiah and the practice of Judaism. Although certainly there are others within the Jewish world that may be "Messianic," in the sense that they believe in the concept of Messiah, Messianic Judaism actually proclaims that the Messiah has come and is coming again, whom we believe to be Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth. We aspire to attain a relationship with the G-d of creation, and we believe that it is through Yeshua the Messiah that that relationship in its fullest sense is possible. Messianic Judaism "walks" out our relationship with G-d in Judaic values enjoyed by the Jewish world. We see no discrepancy in our belief in Yeshua, Jewish tradition, practice and life. We also teach that a relationship with G-d brings wholeness, health, and shalom. For addition information, click Here
What is a Messianic Congregation?
It is a group of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua, the Messiah, that gather to worship G-d, do His will and reach out to the Jewish community while maintaining our identity, culture and heritage.
Who is Yeshua the Messiah?
To give a brief answer to a very involved question, Yeshua is the Son of G-d, spoken of in the Jewish scriptures, who is the king/servant of Israel that would restore humankind's relationship with the G-d of creation. The tradition of "the Messiah" is a Jewish concept that developed about the time of Ezra the scribe, around 400 BCE, and that Messiah would be a deliverer for Israel and the world. The Jewish scriptures teach that as people we are separated from HaShem because of the "sin" of turning away from the L-RD, and it would be through the role of the deliverer/servant that that relationship would be corrected so we may receive the benefits in this life and the life to come as we partner with our creator (Isaiah 52:13-53:13, ,59:2). As with some Jewish traditions, several hundred years before and after Yeshua, we believe in the dual role of Messiah. We believe the Messiah came as a servant, and will in the future come again and rule as king in Jerusalem (Isaiah 9:6-7, Zec. 12:10ff). When Yeshua comes as king, we will experience a world peace, but until then, we experience a peace of another kind that comes with a right relationship with G-d.
If the Messiah Came, Why is there No Peace?
Peace has many faces, and peace comes in many ways. While yes, ultimately Messianic Judaism anticipates a world peace under the kingship of the Messiah, we believe in a peace that is birthed from within and lives with us in this life. Yeshua teaches us that the "kingdom of G-d," or the age to come (Olam HaBa) has broken into our present reality, or this age (Olam haZeh). It is by the Ruach, the Spirit of G-d, that we may taste the peace of the age to come today. The peace we have, embraced in the Messiah, is a peace with another face, and it is peace that may be experienced despite all that is around us. Peace is there, but it must be taken!
Do You Believe in Three G-d's?
It is not Jewish to believe in more then one G-d (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 6:4). Messianic Judaism has dared to ask the question, who is the G-d of Israel and can we know what he looks like? The answer to that question is that the Jewish scriptures teach about the G-d of Israel, they do not teach us what G-d looks like, but they do give us a glimpse. The glimpse we see is in the very act of creation itself. Concerning creation, the Tanakh (Jewish scriptures) teaches us that G-d the creator acted as the Ruach (Spirit), Abba and Ben (Father and son), all three having a hand in creation (Genesis 1:2, Proverbs 30:4). In other words, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob seems to have revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the very act of creation, which can be read about in the scriptures. To Messianic Judaism, G-d is one, and it is the G-d of creation we embrace.
Are you the same as Jews For Jesus?
No, we're not. The term "Jews for Jesus," like the term "Kleenex" or "Xerox" has gone from having a specific reference to a more generalized usage in modern culture. Jews for Jesus is a mission organization headquartered in San Francisco. Their mission statement reads "Jews for Jesus exists to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to the worldwide Jewish community." The vast majority of Jews who believe in Yeshua of Nazareth are not "Jews for Jesus." The term we prefer to use to describe ourselves is "Messianic Jews."
Are Messianic Jews Christians?
In today's world, the meaning of the word "Christian" carries with it many overtones that were not part of its original meaning. The word "Christian" is an anglicized, or English translation, of a Greek word that basically means "follower of Messiah," which is descriptive of a person's belief rather than their culture. The early Jews whose "belief" made them followers of Messiah, maintained their Jewish "lifestyles." Today, the word Christian has much more of a sociological and philosophical meaning attached to it, where it is not only a description of a person's belief, but also descriptive of a culture that really has been attributed to gentile belief, or the gentile world in general. From that perspective, most Messianic Jews would not consider themselves Christians, but yet, certainly Messianic Jews and true gentile Christians maintain the same general belief about Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah promised in the Holy Scriptures.
Are Messianic Jews Still Jews?
Morton Klein, the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), has been recorded as having said that a Messianic Jew is a "former Jew," but is that really true? The Talmud tells us that although the 1st century Rabbi's concluded that a Messianic Jew was a Jew, in the early 2nd century that was reversed, not only how can that be, but is that true? Today, the question of whether a Messianic Jew is still a Jew, is a question that can go either way depending on who you talk to, but the same can be true between an Orthodox and a Reform Jew -- is the Reform Jew still a Jew according to some Orthodox? So, for those who may think Messianic Jews are "former Jews," if they are right, the Jewish world must then accept that the same must be true between the Reform and Orthodox, that is, if some Orthodox have concluded that Reform Jews are not Jews, it must be true. According to the written Torah, a Jew is one who follows the G-d of Israel, is descended physically from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and is joined to the kehilah (community) of Israel, or the Jewish people. Jewish followers of Yeshua who practice Messianic Judaism meet these criteria. One may never loose an intrinsic biological fact, but one can separate from the Jewish people, and that is something Messianic Jews have not done. The heritage of Israel is something that belongs to all Jews, and that includes Messianic Jews as well.
How Does Messianic Judaism Differ from Christianity?
Messianic Judaism and Christianity represent two religious practices that both proclaim Yeshua as the Messiah of promise to the world. Their differences are rooted in their peoplehood, in other words, a Jewish and gentile representation and expression. Christianity by definition can best be explained as a system of faith in Yeshua by the gentile world that has allowed them to enter into a relationship with the G-d of Israel, while maintaining their own culture and traditions. On the other hand, Messianic Judaism, in the following of the Messiah, adheres to Judaic traditions and practices that would be maintained by all Jews. Messianic Judaism and Christianity reflect different traditions in our shared belief in Yeshua.
How Does Messianic Judaism Differ from Traditional Judaism?
Messianic Judaism differs from traditional Judaism when it comes to how we understand the Messiah, who we proclaim the Messiah to be, as well as our doctrine to the non-Jewish world. As followers of the Messiah, we adhere to Yeshua's teachings, but that does not mean we have eradicated all other Jewish writings. We find Jewish continuity in the traditions and practices handed down throughout history by the sages and Rabbis, as do other Jewish people, something Yeshua himself affirmed, although Yeshua warned against tradition when it took the place of G-d. We also recognize that non-Jews, through Yeshua the Messiah, may enter into a relationship with the G-d of Israel without needing to go through a conversion process to Judaism. The teaching and lifestyle of Yeshua and all his Jewish followers, including Shaul HaShaliach (the Apostle Paul), adhered to the Jewish practices and doctrines of their own day; Messianic Judaism seeks to do the same today as well.
How Does Messianic Judaism Deal with Anti-Semitism in the Church?
The B'rit Chadasha, or New Testament, teaches that a true gentile Christian is one who loves the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism in the church is a product of misreading the scriptures and thinking that G-d has turned his back on Israel and the Jewish people. Unfortunately, this type of thinking prevailed in the gentile church until the last 100 years or so, and is still not completely gone, although not as prevalent today as it was in the past. Messianic Judaism deals with this problem by means of education. One of our purposes is to teach and instruct the church concerning Israel and the Jewish people and G-d's covenants concerning both. With a concerted effort over the last 30 years or so, this type of teaching has had a profound impact on many gentile churches throughout America, not to mention the entire world. However, despite the impact, there is still a long way to go. Messianic Judaism desires to help correct what is misunderstood, and will stand behind any effort and endeavor to do the same.
Do I have to be Jewish to attend Kehilath HaDerekh?
No. Kehilath HaDerekh is a Messianic Jewish Congregation that has both Jewish and non-Jewish people who attend our services each week. While we do reach out to the Jewish community through culturally relevant music, worship and terminology, we have found that both Jewish and non-Jewish people feel comfortable attending our services.
Which Holidays do you celebrate?
We celebrate all of the G-d-given, Biblical holidays as found in Leviticus 23 as well as the historical Jewish holidays that remember G-d's deliverance of our people such as Hanukkah and Purim.
Do I have to know Hebrew to attend your services?
No. Our services are primarily in English but have certain elements in the Hebrew language such as prayers, music and liturgy. The Hebrew is always connected with the English translation, and usually with a transliteration, so that all may have complete understanding of what is being said.
How should I dress to attend services?
The answer differs from one congregation to another. We prefer the Priestly model that the G-d of Israel set as a command to all priests. We dress our very best to be in His service and in His presence. The New Covenant states that we are all priests (through Yeshua our High Priest forever). See 1 Peter 2; Hebrews 7:17; and Exodus 28.
Also as we consider our congregation Messianic Jewish and as such a sect of Judaism (whether accepted by other sects of Judaism or not) we ask that all men wear a Kippa (Yarmulke/shull cap) - which are provided at our services (or you can wear your own). We also provide a basket with Tallisim/Tallitot (Prayer shawls with fringes) for both men (white w/ blue stripe) and women (white w/ pink stripe) in the spirit of Numbers 15. The tallit garment is optional, and may be worn for the duration of the Shabbat service.
Do you recommend any books to help me learn about messianic judaism?
Yes! Here it is below. Just click the link to go right to this book’s page on Amazon.com
Messianic Judaism - a modern movement with an ancient past
(by David H. Stern, Ph.D.)