Does religiousness define one’s Jewishness? Most Jews would say no. A very large percentage of Jews are either non-practicing, secular, humanistic, agnostic or atheist. They are still considered Jews. So why should Jews who believe in Jesus be any different? They are not.
Can You Remain Jewish And Believe In Jesus?
To answer simply and briefly, yes! Receiving Jesus as your Messiah does not negate your Jewishness. In fact, by believing that Yeshua (Jesus) lived, died and rose again as our salvation, you are actually living in the fulfillment of your Jewish heritage. Prophecies throughout the Jewish Scriptures point to the birth of a baby from the tribe of Judah. He would be born in Bethlehem, do signs and wonders and be led to the slaughter like a sheep.
The prophets speak of these things in the Jewish scriptures. So where does this idea come from that Jews cannot retain their Jewishness when they accept Jesus?
Cut Off From It’s Roots
The early church was mostly Jews. The disciples, the apostles and Jesus himself were all Jews living in the culture and traditions of their forefathers. As the early church grew and the gospel went out to the gentiles, the number of non Jewish believers grew as well. Around the 3rd century, a view began to arise that if a Jewish person wanted to follow Jesus, they had to give up their Jewishness and become a Gentile. This idea was then confirmed at the Council of Nicea in first Christian doctrine called for by Roman Emperor Contantine I, the Nicean Creed. One of the consequences of this council and many others was distancing the church from it’s Jewish roots. The council made it clear that if a Jew wanted to join the church, he would have to abandon his Jewish practices and traditions and even change his Jewish name.
Sadly, at this time the church severed herself from her Jewish roots. This caused a great schism that would have a lasting affect on church history and interactions with the Jewish people. This kind of thinking led to the Crusades. Many Jews and Muslims were slaughtered in the name of Christ. Thus, a pain so deep still resides in the hearts of Jewish people when they hear the word “Christ”.
Messianic Jewish Movement
You can clearly see that this was a plan from Satan. A plan to keep the Jewish people from maintaining their full identity as Jews. But there is a remnant and in recent history the Messianic Movement is arising. Messianic Jews are Jews who believe that Jesus is their Jewish Messiah. They maintain their Jewish identity by keeping the shabbat, celebrating the feasts and gathering together in worship.
Together We Display the Beauty Of God
There is a restoration that happens when Jews and Gentiles come together in love for one another. There is a repairing of an ancient breach as they receive one another in their unique identities. This coming together reveals the beauty of the one new man in Ephesians 2.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” Ephesians 2:14
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