Question: In your May '05 Q&A, you objected to [using] terms [such as] “Messianic Jew” and “Messianic movement" [as well as keeping the biblical feasts]. As a Gentile in a “Messianic” congregation, [I believe] I have the liberty to keep these Feasts. | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Question(representative of several): In your May Q&A, you objected to the use of the terms “Messianic Jew” and “Messianic movement” as not biblical. The Jerusalem council settled the issue that there would be a distinction between Gentiles and Jews in observances and practice….Jesus Christ is the same for Jew and Gentile unto salvation, yet observances can be different….I would differ with your explanation of Jesus and His followers not being observant Jews after the cross.  The apostles did continue to observe Sabbath after the cross (Acts:13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, 11; two Sabbaths at Antioch, one Sabbath at Philippi, three Sabbaths at Thessalonica, seven to eight Sabbaths at Corinth). The feasts of Scripture were to be everlasting for the Israelites and could be partaken of by the strangers among them. Most were everlasting observances, and…will continue in the future….God does not change His mind (Leviticus:23:14, 21; Zechariah:14:16-19).  As a Gentile in a “Messianic” congregation, I have the liberty to keep these Feasts.

I think the writer of the question you answered was expressing the frustration he or she has regarding churches [where] a Jewish believer…is made to give up their identification as a Jew upon joining a predominantly Gentile congregation…told that they should not celebrate Hannukah or Passover [but] must defer to Christmas and Easter, which is not in Scripture at all. God wants Jew and Gentile to be together in harmony, not replacing anything Jewish with something non-Jewish. This has been done throughout history…pushing Jewish people far away from the gospel. Jesus was a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew and will return a Jew.  The church in many cases portrays Him stripped of His identity as a Jew….There is no argument that the sacrifices were completed in Him, once and for all, and all has been accomplished for us to receive His free gift of eternal life. 

Answer: I am sorry if there are any Christians who want Jews to deny their heritage as the chosen people of God descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were delivered from Egypt and brought into the Promised Land. That is wrong. Yes, the stranger who became a Jew through keeping the law, including being circumcised, was to keep the feasts of the Lord. But for a Gentile to keep those feasts today would be a fraud. His ancestors were not delivered from Egypt by miracles and brought into the Promised Land to inherit it, nor has he joined the nation of Israel.

None of the verses you list declares that the Apostles kept the Sabbath but only that they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Obviously, that was because the Jews gathered together there on that day, and this was the best way to reach them with the gospel. Now in the early days, the apostles did observe the law and keep the feasts in order not to offend the unsaved Jews. This was only, however, for the sake of winning them to Christ: “For though I be free from all...yet…unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”(1 Cor:9:19-23).

There are many warnings against becoming entangled in Jewish observances: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike….He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it” (Rom:14:5,6). That passage certainly closes the door for Jew and Gentile upon obligatory observation of the Sabbath or any other Holy Day.

As for “Messianic Jew,” the very term makes a distinction between Jews and Gentiles that does not exist in Christ. Am I a “Messianic Gentile”? There is neither Jew nor Gentile; we are one in Christ.

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