The Messianic MovementThe name given to the movement of Jewish people and Gentiles who stand with them, who believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Messiah of the Tanach (Old Testament) and the Savior of Israel and the world.
Over the past three decades, a new form of congregation has arisen on the scene: the Messianic Jewish congregation. A Messianic Jewish congregation is a New Testament church that is fashioned after traditional Jewish worship styles. Messianic Jewish congregations represent followers of Jesus who wish to worship, make disciples and witness within a Jewish framework.
The modern-day Messianic movement is the heir to the early Hebrew Christian movement. By the middle of the nineteenth century, there were many Jewish people who came to faith in Jesus and joined traditional evangelical churches. Many Jewish missions in Europe established works throughout Europe, North America, Argentina and Israel. In those days, Jewish believers in Jesus identified themselves as "Hebrew Christians."
For centuries, the common view among churches was that when a Jewish person believed in Jesus, he or she had to forfeit their Jewishness.
But by the middle of the 19th century, many Jewish believers in Jesus began to question the rationale of that prevailing principle.
Messianic Jewish believers chose to identify themselves as Jews without losing their Jewish identity. The logical consequence of this change was the formation of Messianic Jewish congregations, as these followers of Jesus felt the need to be able to express their Jewish identity in a way that they could not do in traditional evangelical churches.
Messianic Jewish congregations believe first and foremost that Jesus is the Messiah promised to Israel, and the Savior and Redeemer of all humankind. Therefore, membership is not limited to people of Jewish origin, but is open to all believers in Jesus.
These congregations have certain characteristics that are part of Jewish tradition, such as holding services on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) instead of Sunday, using Hebrew liturgy and Israeli music, and observing the Biblical holidays.
Today there are over 200 Messianic Jewish congregations in North America and perhaps 500 worldwide. Messianic Jewish congregations are autonomous, and their spiritual leader that is commonly referred to as "Messianic Rabbi."
One of the main reasons Messianic congregations exist is to share the gospel with the Jewish people. Although Chosen People Ministries does not represent the entire Messianic Jewish movement, most of us identify as Messianic Jews and are actively involved in Messianic Jewish congregations.
By David Sedaca
Vice President of Chosen People Ministries
President of the Union of Messianic Jewish Believers of America
Within the original movement of Messianic congregations Christian Terms are generally avoided, terms as Christ and cross (tsalav—צלב), and prefers to maximise the use of Hebrew terms. Messianic Jews take the opposite approach from the Sacred Name Movement regarding the name of God. The transliterated name "Yahweh" is rarely used, nor the New Testament "Lord", but "HaShem" (Hebrew השם, "the name"). Messianic Jews take the same approach as the Sacred Name Movement for the name "Yeshua".
|Previous Article||Index||Next Article|