Nov 1 2007
Question: In your article concerning Messianic Jewish practices and/or Messianics...you write on a subject that you are not really qualified to speak on....It is correct that the Passover was given to the Jewish people as a remembrance of the Exodus and...was obligatory to Jews only....However, as part of our freedom in the Messiah, both Jews and Gentiles may observe it or not and you have no biblical authority to say otherwise.
When you say that you "reject categorically the very word ‘Messianic,'" you are showing the very ignorance you have affirmed elsewhere: that you have no knowledge of the original Hebrew and Greek. You...reject the word because "it is not found in the Bible." Do you realize how foolish that argument is? The word "rapture" is not found in the Bible, nor the word "Trinity"....
The terms "Messianic" and "Christian" mean the same thing, but one originates from a Hebrew source, the other from a Greek source....To be strictly biblical, you should drop the word "Christian" and use the term "saints...." You also say, "Unfortunately, ‘Messianic-whatever' implies that observing Jewish practices insures that one will be closer to God-and often becomes an excuse for imposing the Law and Jewish observances upon Gentile Christians." This is simply nonsense. Those who make such claims will be a small minority. Many of us Messianic Jews do not impose the Law and Jewish observances on anyone including ourselves since we firmly believe the Mosaic Law ended at Messiah's death...you are free to do it or not and you cannot claim it is forbidden [without] a clear Scripture...and [there is none].
Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus is the Christ...one is free to use the term "Christian" or "Messianic" and both mean the same thing. But we Jews who suffered heavily at the hands of those who called themselves "Christians" choose not to identify ourselves unnecessarily with the persecutors. "Messianic" does not carry that kind of baggage and we are free to use it...and you have no biblical basis for claiming that it is not a permitted word....
One other incredible statement you make is, "it is presently impossible for anyone to be ‘Messianic' because all who believe in Christ (Jew or Gentile) are in the church, with Christ ruling as Lord in their hearts." This is an incredibly ignorant statement....You may just as well say it is "presently impossible for anyone to be Christian, because all who believe in Christ...etc."
Again, you have written an article you are not really qualified to speak to and was certainly not helpful for those of us who are dispensational and Messianic Jews....Based upon the letters I am getting, you have disturbed a lot of people....In the future you might want to stay in your own area of expertise....Dispensationalists have not understood the position or role of Jewish believers in this age, and the kind of article you have chosen to write will [not] help the matter.
Response: Thank you for attempting to educate me about "Jewish believers." Yet by this very term you undermine your argument! Your frequent use of "Messianic" proves that this adjective, which is only used of Jews and never of Gentiles, makes an unbiblical distinction. We were made one at the Cross according to Ephesians 2, so why should one distinguish "Jewish believers" from Gentile believers? My point was that this unbiblical distinction is exacerbated by the expression, "Messianic believers."
Your repeated accusation is unbiblical that even to discuss this issue is to step outside my "own area of expertise" and that I am "not really qualified to speak to it." Isn't this subject dealt with in the Bible? Of course! So you suggest that there is a part of Scripture to be discussed only by those who have an "expertise" that I lack? This is both elitist and unbiblical!
Quoting Deuteronomy:8:3, our Lord tells Satan, "Man [not a rabbi, a Ph.D. in theology, or a Hebrew expert, but any man] doth not live by bread only, but by every word...of the LORD...." As an ordinary man, therefore, I can both understand and live by every word of God! Similarly, not just a rabbi, Greek and Hebrew expert, seminary graduate, etc., but any man [or woman, boy, girl] is qualified to meditate day and night on the "law of the LORD" (Ps:1:1,2). Even a "young man" (not only a DTS professor) is qualified to heed the Word of God and thereby "cleanse his way" (Ps:119:9). Obviously, to eat and live by and to heed and be cleansed by the Word of God, one must understand it. This anyone can do with an open Bible, an open heart, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet only those who have "expertise" can understand and apply God's Holy Word?
You say that "both Jews and Gentiles are free to observe [the Passover] or not to observe it...." It takes no "expertise" to know that this isn't true. Concerning the Passover, God said to all Israel, "Ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever...to thee and to thy sons for ever" (Ex 12:14,24). That's a command to all Jews, saved or unsaved. The reason is vital: this offers present proof that those keeping the Passover are descended from the slaves in Egypt, who were freed by the death of the lamb and were led en masse into the Promised Land (12:26,27). This forever settles any controversy over so-called "Palestine"! The Passover is a testimony that those keeping it are descended from those miraculously delivered from Egypt (Ex 12:26,27) and that the land belongs to them and their heirs for ever! That proof is lost, however, if Gentiles also keep the Passover.
Of course the words "rapture" and "trinity" are not in the Bible-but the concepts are clearly taught there. In contrast, the idea that there is something special about Jewish believers in Christ, who therefore qualify to be called "Messianic," is contrary to Scripture. You say that "Messianic" and "Christian" mean the same thing. Not by their usage they don't. You would not refer to a "Christian Christian," but the term "Messianic Christian" is accepted. That belies what you say. I sympathize with the antipathy Jews have toward "Christians," but that is based upon a gross misunderstanding fostered for generations. Isn't it time that Jews who know better should explain to their fellow Jews that the Nazis and all others who have ever persecuted and killed Christ's brethren, the Jews, were not true Christians?!
Of course, any Jewish believer may call himself "Messianic." I only attempted to explain the problems that this designation of certain followers of Christ causes. You have received letters saying that I have confused the issue. I also have letters from former members of Messianic fellowships who agree with and thank me.