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Author Topic: Messianic Judaism  (Read 8413 times) Average Rating: 0
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lovesupreme
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« Reply #135 on: April 21, 2012, 12:18:56 AM »

As a former Orthodox Jew, I'd like to explain the perspective I was taught. However, I'm not looking to argue the validity of any group.

The Orthodox Jews I knew had absolutely nothing good to say about Messianic Jews. I don't think they even used that label, or the more common "Jews for Jesus." I heard "Jees for Jewsus" and "Jews for Yeshkua" (the k is used to separate a holy name from a mundane name; Orthodox Jews say "kelohim" in conversation and "elohim," a name of god, only in prayer... the idea is that because Jesus, or Yeshua, is worshiped as a deity, they make sure not to utter his name). I was frequently told not to talk to them, let alone any proselytizer. I knew an Orthodox college student who had a heated debate with a Messianic Jew outside a classroom; as you can imagine, one insisted the other was delusional and one insisted the other was in denial. They, like Reform, Conservative (and in the case of some Orthodox sects, even other Orthodox) Jews are considered heretics.

Because many Messianic Jews are not Jewish according to Orthodox standards (born to a Jewish mother), they don't proselytize to them directly. However, there are many websites and programs that the Orthodox have developed to bring "real" Jews who have been "duped" by Messianics back into the fold. Their primary tactics are:
1) Refuting the verses in the Old Testament that supposedly prophesy the coming of Christ (e.g. "a maiden will conceive a son" as opposed to "a virgin will conceive a son"),
2) Stressing verses that proclaim the oneness of god (Bamidbar/Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind."), and
3) De-legitimizing the New Testament by pointing out inconsistencies, such as Jesus's different genealogies (internal), or that Jesus can't be patrilineal descendent of King David, and thus the Moshiach/Messiah, since his supposed father is god (external).

I was stopped by a Messianic Jew when I was walking to a friend's house on the Sabbath (it was not hard to tell that I was Jewish). My friend, an older gentleman, did most of the talking. The conversation was mostly civil. The Messianic Jew didn't seem to know much about the Judaism we knew about. It turned out he actually wasn't even Jewish (on either side of his family). He seemed to understand why I could not accept Jesus as god because the Torah stated that god was one and not a man; he argued that because Jesus really is god, we should all worship him. Unfortunately, it ended with him proselytizing and my friend walking away annoyed.

Some other points:

The Oral Torah was handed down to Moses by God.  Moses handed it down to the Jewish men, but it was not to be written.  They handed it down to their sons and their students for countless generations, until some Rabbis thought it was a good idea to break the commandment to not write it down.  Then they gradually continued to write more and more of it down, and further erode the idea that it is oral. to the point that such idea is essentially non-existent.  But, yes, the Talmud is a compilation (and there are actually two Talmuds, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Babylonian is what most people refer to when they say Talmud, however) of Oral Torah, that - despite coming directly from God - takes the form of a debate that at times has the winner not seem to be on any more logical ground than the loser.

I will not argue with your story, but this is what the Rabbis taught me: facing the Roman exile, the Jews were "forced" to write down the Mishnah in around 200CE, out of fear of losing their tradition. Later came the Gemara (also known as the Talmud), which elaborates on the Mishnah.

I personally believe that the rabbis may have had ulterior motives for writing down the law, but the above is what they teach Orthodox Jews.

Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism rejected Christianity. Christianity rejected Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism. The early Jewish Christians decided to hold their celebrations and fasts on different days than the Rabbinic Hellenistic Jews for this reason (see Didache of the 12 Apostles). Differences grew between the two groups. More Gentiles came in. Christians and RHJ's started holding Passover/Pascha on different days. Yada, yada, yada.

I was always a little confused by the article on Judaism on OrthodoxWiki, which states "Judaism is a religion which has arisen after Jews have rejected and crucified the Messiah predicted by Old Testament prophets." I was always taught that Judaism came first, and Christianity was an offshoot of that. Is it a common belief among Orthodox (and perhaps non-Orthodox) Christians that the form of Judaism existent today is nothing more than a reaction to Christianity? I will not dispute this, but it certainly differs from what the Rabbis say.

Also, it's interesting that Nicholas uses the term "Hellenistic." Traditionally, the story of Hannukah is about the malevolent, polytheistic Hellenist Greeks enticing Jews to embrace their culture and compromise the oral and written laws of the Pharisees. These Hellenists were sometimes associated with a group known as the Saducees, although the two were not the same. The Macabees led the revolt against the Hellenists and kept straight-up "Rabbinic" Judaism in power. I haven't read the book of Macabees, as it is considered apocryphal by the Orthodox, so I'm not sure if the story differs there; I do plan to read it sometime though.
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« Reply #136 on: April 21, 2012, 12:25:46 AM »

Also, it's interesting that Nicholas uses the term "Hellenistic." Traditionally, the story of Hannukah is about the malevolent, polytheistic Hellenist Greeks enticing Jews to embrace their culture and compromise the oral and written laws of the Pharisees.
You are correct. However, greek influence crept into Judaism none the less. Also, Medieval Judaism, a millennium after Maccabees was incredibly Hellenistic.
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« Reply #137 on: April 21, 2012, 12:31:44 AM »

My question to lovesupreme is I noticed they say former Orthodox Jew so are you looking into the Orthodox christian faith?
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lovesupreme
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« Reply #138 on: April 21, 2012, 12:34:15 AM »

You are correct. However, greek influence crept into Judaism none the less. Also, Medieval Judaism, a millennium after Maccabees was incredibly Hellenistic.

Orthodox Jews believe that Greek influence crept into Judaism other the years as well. Some actually believe that Reform and Conservative Jews are the spiritual (perhaps even direct) descendents of the Hellenist Jews. They attribute Hellinization, along with intermarriage, assimilation, and atheism as the leading cause of the galut (exile) and the delay of the Messiah.

I have no doubts that Judaism changed significantly by the Medieval period, but I have never heard it described as Hellenistic until the Reform Movement branched off from Orthodoxy. I'd be interested to read more about this version of the history; do you have a book or website you'd recommend?

My response to jewish voice: I am interested in the Orthodox faith in a strictly academic sense. I am no longer religious. May I ask the same of you?
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« Reply #139 on: April 21, 2012, 12:39:21 AM »

You are correct. However, greek influence crept into Judaism none the less. Also, Medieval Judaism, a millennium after Maccabees was incredibly Hellenistic.

Orthodox Jews believe that Greek influence crept into Judaism other the years as well. Some actually believe that Reform and Conservative Jews are the spiritual (perhaps even direct) descendents of the Hellenist Jews. They attribute Hellinization, along with intermarriage, assimilation, and atheism as the leading cause of the galut (exile) and the delay of the Messiah.

I have no doubts that Judaism changed significantly by the Medieval period, but I have never heard it described as Hellenistic until the Reform Movement branched off from Orthodoxy. I'd be interested to read more about this version of the history; do you have a book or website you'd recommend?

My response to jewish voice: I am interested in the Orthodox faith in a strictly academic sense. I am no longer religious. May I ask the same of you?
I'm from a Conservative Jewish back ground and moved to Reform and kinda started to look into the Orthodox Christian faith
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« Reply #140 on: April 21, 2012, 12:54:03 AM »

Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism rejected Christianity. Christianity rejected Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism. The early Jewish Christians decided to hold their celebrations and fasts on different days than the Rabbinic Hellenistic Jews for this reason (see Didache of the 12 Apostles). Differences grew between the two groups. More Gentiles came in. Christians and RHJ's started holding Passover/Pascha on different days. Yada, yada, yada.

I was always a little confused by the article on Judaism on OrthodoxWiki, which states "Judaism is a religion which has arisen after Jews have rejected and crucified the Messiah predicted by Old Testament prophets." I was always taught that Judaism came first, and Christianity was an offshoot of that. Is it a common belief among Orthodox (and perhaps non-Orthodox) Christians that the form of Judaism existent today is nothing more than a reaction to Christianity? I will not dispute this, but it certainly differs from what the Rabbis say.

I would say that whoever put that on OrthodoxWiki heavily overstates the case. But its not completely wrong either. "Judaism" as such is certainly the older religion with Christianity being an offshoot or fulfillment (depending on one's perspective) of it. However, it is a historical fact that in the 1st century Judaism was not a monolithic religion but rather one that had a number of distinct schools/sects/streams which shared certain basics (i.e., the Torah) but had differences in terms of how they interpreted that commonality as well as in what else they considered authoritative. In the centuries following the destruction of Jerusalem all those schools/sects disappered except for Pharisaic Rabbinic Judaism--and Christianity.

I'm not really qualified to argue the extent to which modern Orthodox/Pharisaic Judaism (and of course, Rabbinic Judaism has itself split into a number of different streams) has changed from 2000 years ago and to what extent those changes were reactions to Christianity or to other historical circumstances. For all I know, if a modern Orthodox rabbi was transported back in time, he could sit down with the Pharisees Christ interacted with and they'd be in complete agreement about everything. But there would be other Jews in that time period (Sadducees, Essenes, etc) with whom he certainly would not find himself in agreement on a number of points.

So Christianity definitely comes from Judaism, but it comes from the multifaceted Judaism of the first century and not from Rabbinic Judaism alone--for example, the Old Testament used by the Orthodox Church (the Septuagint), which contains books not recognized by modern Judaism was compiled by Jews several centuries before the birth of Christ. So we would definitely say that we get the Old Testament from Judaism--but we didn't get it from that particular strain of Judaism which is the direct ancestor of modern Orthodox Judaism. Or in other words, from a Christian point of view, Christianity comes from Judaism--but it doesn't come from modern Judaism which is rather a parallel stream in terms of coming down from the first century.

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lovesupreme
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« Reply #141 on: April 21, 2012, 01:03:34 AM »

Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism rejected Christianity. Christianity rejected Rabbinic Hellenistic Judaism. The early Jewish Christians decided to hold their celebrations and fasts on different days than the Rabbinic Hellenistic Jews for this reason (see Didache of the 12 Apostles). Differences grew between the two groups. More Gentiles came in. Christians and RHJ's started holding Passover/Pascha on different days. Yada, yada, yada.

I was always a little confused by the article on Judaism on OrthodoxWiki, which states "Judaism is a religion which has arisen after Jews have rejected and crucified the Messiah predicted by Old Testament prophets." I was always taught that Judaism came first, and Christianity was an offshoot of that. Is it a common belief among Orthodox (and perhaps non-Orthodox) Christians that the form of Judaism existent today is nothing more than a reaction to Christianity? I will not dispute this, but it certainly differs from what the Rabbis say.

I would say that whoever put that on OrthodoxWiki heavily overstates the case. But its not completely wrong either. "Judaism" as such is certainly the older religion with Christianity being an offshoot or fulfillment (depending on one's perspective) of it. However, it is a historical fact that in the 1st century Judaism was not a monolithic religion but rather one that had a number of distinct schools/sects/streams which shared certain basics (i.e., the Torah) but had differences in terms of how they interpreted that commonality as well as in what else they considered authoritative. In the centuries following the destruction of Jerusalem all those schools/sects disappered except for Pharisaic Rabbinic Judaism--and Christianity.

I'm not really qualified to argue the extent to which modern Orthodox/Pharisaic Judaism (and of course, Rabbinic Judaism has itself split into a number of different streams) has changed from 2000 years ago and to what extent those changes were reactions to Christianity or to other historical circumstances. For all I know, if a modern Orthodox rabbi was transported back in time, he could sit down with the Pharisees Christ interacted with and they'd be in complete agreement about everything. But there would be other Jews in that time period (Sadducees, Essenes, etc) with whom he certainly would not find himself in agreement on a number of points.

So Christianity definitely comes from Judaism, but it comes from the multifaceted Judaism of the first century and not from Rabbinic Judaism alone--for example, the Old Testament used by the Orthodox Church (the Septuagint), which contains books not recognized by modern Judaism was compiled by Jews several centuries before the birth of Christ. So we would definitely say that we get the Old Testament from Judaism--but we didn't get it from that particular strain of Judaism which is the direct ancestor of modern Orthodox Judaism. Or in other words, from a Christian point of view, Christianity comes from Judaism--but it doesn't come from modern Judaism which is rather a parallel stream in terms of coming down from the first century.

This clarifies what the OrthodoxWiki author meant. Yes, Orthodox Jews will readily admit that by the 1st century, there were different factions vying for power. They claim, however, that the surviving faction was a faction before there were factions. That is, that "Pharisees" is merely a label for Jews who have not changed their ways since the giving of the Torah at Sinai. To suggest that Orthodox Jews emerged from a later schism would be considered heretical in Orthodox circles. That said, I personally believe that to be the case (and that Judaism only further mutated over the centuries).

Incidentally, I don't think a Modern Orthodox rabbi would fit in at all with the Pharisees. His leniences (like eating kosher dairy from a cow milked by a non-Jew, or shaving his beard) would probably cast him with the other groups they regarded as heretical. Then again, the much more stringent Hassidic Jews would probably meet a similar fate.
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« Reply #142 on: April 22, 2012, 01:13:50 PM »

lovesupreme, I just wanted to respond on the issue of the Oral Law being written down.  I'm aware that Orthodox Jews say they were "forced" to write down the Oral Law, but I just find that to be a fairly lame excuse for why it was written down.  If God ordained that it was not to be written down, why would you assume He will allow it to be lost if you follow His commandment?  And once it did begin to be written down, it was increasingly written down over many centuries and more and more commentaries and such were written down, which eliminated any hint that this is an "Oral" law.  I just find their explanation for why it was written down to be greatly lacking.
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« Reply #143 on: April 30, 2012, 12:34:57 PM »

dear sir i am eastern orthodox christian in my area in northern new jersey there is a local messanic Jewish congregation that has a monthly publication called sappahires it is a bunch of articles  from its pastor / rabbi leader in the april 2012 i came across this article called
the iconoclast and it reads in english we have the word iconoclast . an iconoclast is someone who goes against the flow or breaks the rules or traditions . but the word goes back centuries. it comes from a great controversy which took place in the middle ages in the eastern orthodox church . the eastern orthodox church was covered with so called holy images - called icons but thier arose a movement that said the hallowing of icons as idolotry . they began smashing the icons they were called the breakers of icons or in greek iconoclast but all believers are called to be iconoclast that is we are not to serve honor or ackowledge any idol of man whether of secular man or of the church but it can not stop there a true believer is a iconoclast in that he or she continually smashing the idols in your life and heart are thier any idols in your life is anything your putting your trust your love your hope your attention in when it should be in god if so then it is your job to smash that idol and be a iconoclast

from message 1232
the holy lawbreakers
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my question is how do you answer such  slander and lies from people who do not know the whole issue on the iconoclast subject and write articles out of context to what really happen
and the fact it was the 700's not the middle ages and the early church council was the one who restored the glory of the holy icons only 100 years later
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« Reply #144 on: April 30, 2012, 12:47:01 PM »

In my experience, people who write such things don't have much interest in facts. They do have a good point about destroying the idols in our hearts, but idols and icons are different things.

If you feel compelled, you could always write a letter to the editor. Most publications publish letters from their readers, and if you write them a good, respectful, and to-the-point letter they might print it.

The Messianic Jews might also be interested in learning that ancient Jews also had icons in their synagogues. But again, usually people who write things like this don't care about facts.
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« Reply #145 on: May 02, 2012, 11:05:48 PM »

lovesupreme, I just wanted to respond on the issue of the Oral Law being written down.  I'm aware that Orthodox Jews say they were "forced" to write down the Oral Law, but I just find that to be a fairly lame excuse for why it was written down.  If God ordained that it was not to be written down, why would you assume He will allow it to be lost if you follow His commandment?  And once it did begin to be written down, it was increasingly written down over many centuries and more and more commentaries and such were written down, which eliminated any hint that this is an "Oral" law.  I just find their explanation for why it was written down to be greatly lacking.

I do too, but when I forced myself to accept the teachings of the rabbis, I didn't allow these flaws to simmer on my mind.

Why do any power holders of a religion take controversial action in response to something that god could fix (which, according to monotheism, is literally everything)? They claim there were guided by the Ruach Hakodesh, "The Holy Spirit" (yes, Jews believe in a Holy Spirit too, albeit a Unitarian one). They claim god gave them a carte blanche to come up with all sorts of rabbinical decrees:

Quote from: Deuteronomy 17:8-12
If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between plague and plague, being matters of controversy inside your gates, then shall you arise, and get to the place which HaShem [YHWH] your God shall choose. And you shall come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days, and inquire. And they shall declare to you the sentence of judgment. And you shall do according to the sentence, which they of that place which HaShem [YHWH] shall choose shall declare to you. And you shall take care to do according to all that they inform you. According to the sentence of the Torah which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do; you shall not deviate from the sentence which they shall declare to you, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man who will act presumptuously, and will not listen to the priest who stands to minister there before HaShem [YHWH] your God, or to the judge, that man shall die; and you shall put away the evil from Israel.
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« Reply #146 on: May 12, 2012, 08:24:55 PM »

Father James Bernstein was a co-founder of "Jews for Jesus" and gives his experience with "Messianic" Christians.  He is Jewish, converted to Christ in Protestantism, and eventually joined the Orthodox Church.  He starts speaking at around the 5:30 mark.
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« Reply #147 on: May 12, 2012, 08:37:25 PM »

Father James Bernstein was a co-founder of "Jews for Jesus" and gives his experience with "Messianic" Christians.  He is Jewish, converted to Christ in Protestantism, and eventually joined the Orthodox Church.  He starts speaking at around the 5:30 mark.
I love the avatar. Yes Fr. Bernstein is very good, I liked his Suprised By Christ book alot.
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« Reply #148 on: May 12, 2012, 09:31:38 PM »

Father James Bernstein was a co-founder of "Jews for Jesus" and gives his experience with "Messianic" Christians.  He is Jewish, converted to Christ in Protestantism, and eventually joined the Orthodox Church.  He starts speaking at around the 5:30 mark.
I love the avatar. Yes Fr. Bernstein is very good, I liked his Suprised By Christ book alot.
Thanks! It's St. David of Wales, my patron saint, and the patron of Wales, where my father is from.  I've been meaning to get his book.  I love his talks on the clips posted on youtube.
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« Reply #149 on: May 12, 2012, 11:06:18 PM »

Father James Bernstein was a co-founder of "Jews for Jesus" and gives his experience with "Messianic" Christians.  He is Jewish, converted to Christ in Protestantism, and eventually joined the Orthodox Church.  He starts speaking at around the 5:30 mark.
I love the avatar. Yes Fr. Bernstein is very good, I liked his Suprised By Christ book alot.

It is a good book. 
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