You Can’t be Jewish if You Believe in Jesus

I have heard this said more times than I can count. It is based not in fact, of course, but in bias, and in ignorance, and in fear.

Fear? What are they afraid of?  Well, simply put, Jewish people are afraid of being traitors to God. After all, they’ve been told their whole life that if they believe in Jesus they can’t be Jewish.

People are usually afraid of what they don’t understand, right?  So, let’s take a look at that statement to see if  we can understand it.

We’ll start by taking out the “religious” aspects. When we remove “Jewish” and “Jesus”, and restate it in a logical format, it becomes a relationship:  If  A,  then Not B

One test of the logic of a relationship is to see if the converse is true, i.e., if not B, then A? That leaves us with: Not believing Yeshua is the Messiah means you must be Jewish.

I don’t think that works, do you? After all, Zen Buddhists (nothing against Zen Buddhists here, I’m am just using them as an example) don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, but they’re not Jewish. Hindi’s don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and they’re not Jewish. Communists don’t even believe in God, for Pete’s sake, and they’re not Jewish (although in the 50’s, Senator McCarthy thought all Jews were Communists, but that’s a different story. Besides, he thought everyone was a Communist.)

So it’s a statement that works only in one direction, meaning the converse is not true.

Now let’s look at this from a different angle. If believing Yeshua is the Messiah is an absolute disqualifier for being Jewish, to have a disqualifier you must have a qualifier. In other words, to identify what is not Jewish you have to know what is Jewish.

That is a question I don’t think anyone has ever answered to everyone’s satisfaction. What is a Jew? I once read that a famous Rabbi (sorry- forgot who) said that anyone who believes in God is Jewish. That seems to be too easy, and I am sure makes many Replacement Theologists shudder in fear. It also weakens the legitimacy of the topic statement, doesn’t it? If you really don’t know what makes one Jewish, how can you declare there is something that absolutely prevents you from being Jewish?

For the purpose of this commentary, would you agree with this definition: anyone who does what Jews do is Jewish? Is that good? It kinda makes sense, is a simple enough concept, and seems to be a universal qualifier, doesn’t it?

The next thing is to figure out what Jews do.

1. Jews believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Messianic Jews believe that, too.

2. Jews observe the laws and commandments in the Torah.

Messianic Jews do that, too (actually, no one does that or ever has except Yeshua, so let’s just say Messianic Jews try to do that, just as Jews try)

3. Jews celebrate the Festivals of the Lord, as defined in Leviticus 23.

Messianic Jews do that, too.

4. Jews believe in the existence of a Messiah  promised by God to bring us back to Him.

Messianic Jews believe that, too. Nearly a quarter of a Million Jews, at that time in history, believed it was Yeshua. And that’s about the same number of Messianic Jews, today.

Remember, there was no “Church” in the first Century- there were two kinds of people: Jews and Pagans. That’s it.

Then Yeshua showed up, and there were three types of people: Those who believed Yeshua was the Messiah (made up of Jews and Gentiles), Jews who didn’t believe He was the Messiah, and Pagans (who, frankly, didn’t care either way because they had plenty of their own gods.)

But the Jews who believed were still considered Jews. And the Gentiles….now here’s the kicker….were becoming Jews! That’s right! The Gentiles were becoming Jews because following Yeshua meant to live like Jews did.

Yeshua was a Jew- no one argues that. The Christians try to make us believe He lived as a Jew but was resurrected a Christian!  Not so. He did all those Jewish things, and taught others how to do them the way God wanted them done.  Messianic Jews do all those Jewish things, and don’t forget that all those Jews in the First Century who believed He was the Messiah were all considered Jewish. So, if I do all these Jewish things and believe this Jewish man, who did and taught people how to do all these Jewish things, is the Messiah, why does that make me a Gentile?

I’ll tell you why. Because today, when a Jew wants to believe Yeshua is the Messiah, Christianity says they have to become Christian.  The Jews say you can’t be Jewish if you believe in Him, and the Christians say if you believe in Him you shouldn’t still do Jewish things. We finally got the Jews and Gentiles to agree on something about Jesus, but it’s the absolutely wrong thing!! Oy!

Did you know one of the greatest Jewish Rabbis of all time, Rabbi Akiba , believed a Jew named Bar Kochba was the Messiah, and no one says he wasn’t Jewish. Some Ultra Orthodox Jews believe Menachem Schneerson is the Messiah, and no one says they aren’t Jewish. Every Jewish mother believes her son is the Messiah, and they’re Oh-so-Jewish!

The truth is that believing Yeshua is the Messiah doesn’t disqualify you from being a Jew. In fact, even not doing Jewish things doesn’t really disqualify you if you are born Jewish. Therefore, bloodlines notwithstanding, as long as you do all the Jewish things described above, you are a Jew whether or not you choose to accept that Yeshua is the Messiah.

In Messianic Judaism, both the Jews and the Gentiles live a Jewish lifestyle. Messianic Jews do what Jews do (most, anyways. In truth, many, many Jews don’t do what Jews should do, and no one says they’re not Jewish. Not until they accept Yeshua, of course.) In fact, for the last 17 or so years since I decided to accept that Yeshua is the Messiah and became a “Messianic Jew” I am more Jewish now than I ever was before.

Hey, if you are Jewish and you are curious to know the truth about this Yeshua guy, don’t be afraid. Christianity has turned that nice, Jewish boy into someone totally different than who He truly is, so don’t buy the “Can’t be Jewish if” thing. Ask,  question, argue, learn, and then decide for yourself. After all, those are some of the most Jewish things we Jews do- we ask, we question, and (man-oh-man) do we ever argue.

So go ahead- be Jewish! Don’t be afraid, don’t be put off, don’t worry about losing your Judaism. Nu?… you just might find it.

How Can I believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?

This is what I asked myself when I first began to accept the truth about who Yeshua is, and what I needed to do for myself. It’s tough because we have all (Jews, I mean) been told for nearly two Millennia that Jesus isn’t for Jews. 

I think the first thing we need to do is understand that the New Covenant isn’t really new; in fact, it is very Jewish when you get underneath the subtle anti semitism that Gentile interpreters have built into it. The truth is there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant!

Try this on for size…the Tanakh is a compilation of God-inspired, eye-witnessed writings by Jews, of Jews, to Jews telling about God and His laws, with the promise of a Messiah who is to come and reconcile the entire world to God. The B’rit Chadasha (Good News, or New Covenant) is a compilation of God-inspired, eye-witnessed writings by Jews, of Jews, to Jews (and Gentiles becoming Jewish), and is the continuation of the Tanakh telling us about the promised Messiah, what He did to prove who He was/is, and ends with the final judgement and what will happen in the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days). Together they take us from start to finish, from before time began to the end of time and Eternity.One without the other is like having only one bookend.

As Jews, we are told to stay away from that Christian book because it is all about a new religion. That is a lie from the pit of Hell. It is about the Jewish Messiah. 

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more “Jewish” than to believe in a Messiah. The Ultra-Orthodox Lubavitchers believe that Menachem Shearson is the Messiah (out of respect I won’t absolutely deny this, but there hasn’t been any real evidence), and they’re still Jewish. The followers of R. Akiba believed, as he did, that Bar Kochba was the Messiah (he wasn’t, by the way) and they’re still considered to have been Jewish. If I believed that anyone was the Messiah, I wouldn’t be accused of not being Jewish. However, if I believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, well, that’s different! I once had a Rabbi, who was a Reconstructionist Rabbi, bang her fist on the table and say one couldn’t be Jewish if he believed in Jesus. A Reconstructionist said this! 

What makes up a Jew, anyway? Is it a lifestyle? Is it a birthright? Is it having good financial sense? If we look for the answer where all the answers we will ever need reside (three guesses what book I am talking about, and your first two guesses don’t count), God doesn’t have a religion. He has His rules and regulations. He doesn’t say, “Jews follow these rules, Catholics these, Methodists those, etc.” What He does say is simply that those who follow His ways are His people, and He will be their God. That’s it. So, as far as God is concerned, there aren’t Jews, or Baptists, or Mennonites: only those who follow His rules. He also states, more than once, that anyone who sojourns with the Israelites is an adopted son or daughter. That those people who accept Him are given the same rights and privileges as a natural born “Jew” (remember that Jew or Israelite is not used then like we would use it today. There were only two types of people then: Jew or Pagan. It was a term for those people who followed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was not a religion, per se, but a lifestyle.) 

Likewise, if you were an adopted child of God, you were also expected to live by His rules. That means no pork, Shabbat (Sabbath) is on the 7th day, which is Saturday, and all 613 commandments from the Torah are for you, too. 

Therefore, believing in Yeshua as the Messiah is not anti-Jewish. It is perfectly Jewish. And if you are Jewish, and you want to discover the truth, or (at least) the facts, for yourself, then grab a Messianic Bible and check out this guy named Yeshua. Jesus certainly isn’t for Jews, at least not the Jesus that the Western world has portrayed for the past 1700 years or so. But Yeshua- He’s OK for Jews.  

The really important thing is to make your own decision. Jewish people I know have asked how I could believe in Jesus- not why do I, but how could I? It’s like asking  why did I betray them instead of why do I believe in Him. My reply to them is that I have reasons why I believe He is the Messiah, but why do they think He isn’t? Almost always I get the same answer, which is “Because He isn’t, that’s all”. They have no real reason other than because they were told he isn’t, and that’s it. 

If you are Jewish and reading this (wow- that would be great!) or if you are just not sure (which is how I started off), PLEASE!!! read the Bible, the whole Bible (Genesis to Revelations) and make up your own mind! God won’t buy the lame excuse that you believed what they told you to believe. It didn’t hold water at Nuremberg, and it won’t hold water at Judgement Day. 


Did Jesus Really Start a New Religion?


That should be enough, but I guess I need to give a more detailed reason why the answer is no.

God gave us His commandments, rules, regulations and all sorts of laws. Generally, these are known as mitzvot. Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, or Old Covenant (I don’t say New or Old ‘Testament’ because a testament is a death document that comes alive when one of the parties dies, and a covenant is an agreement between two living parties. God made covenants, not testaments). After all, that’s all there was when He was teaching. There were no New Covenant writings until decades after His death and resurrection. So, what He taught was Jewish.

God told us what to do, and Yeshua showed us how it’s done. That’s all. What He taught, and the real reason He was accused of being rebellious and teaching “new” stuff, was because He taught us that God’s Word is more important than religion. His main target was not what God said, but the traditions of Men- religion. He was always in trouble with the ruling groups, which at that time in history were not sons of David and sons of Aaron, as God commanded should be in charge, but (for the most part) political “hacks” appointed by Rome. The King (Herod) and Cohanim (Priests/Pharisees) were teaching that people should follow the man-made traditions with precedence over what God said. The sad thing is that this hasn’t changed, even today. The Talmud is given more importance regarding daily activities than the Torah by some of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Worse than that, the so-called Christian religions (which are supposed to have been created by Yeshua’s teachings) are almost entirely composed of traditions and rites and ceremonies that are not in the Bible, with holidays that God did not command us to celebrate. What the Jews did wrong during Yeshua’s time, and what He was absolutely against, has been multiplied ten-fold by Christianity!

Yeshua did exactly what a good Jew should have done- lived Torah as it was written, and taught others to do so. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is so very much exactly what has been taught throughout the Tanakh- God sees the heart. David said it in Psalm 51, Isaiah said it, the prophets said it- God is not interested just in sacrifices or paying lip service to Him, He wants us to come to Him with a contrite heart. He wants us to feel the way we should, not just act correctly. That is what Yeshua taught: He said, “You have heard it said …..but I tell you….” and what He told us was to feel God’s love and righteousness, not just act correctly. Don’t just not commit murder: don’t even hate in your heart. Don’t just not commit adultery: don’t even lust with your eyes. These are hard teachings for humans, and exactly what God tells us He wants of us throughout the Tanakh. It’s Judaism in it’s purest form. More than that, it’s what anyone who worships God should be doing.

Yeshua taught Judaism as God wanted it- from the heart. The New Covenant promise (which, BTW, is not in the New Covenant writings, but in the Tanakh, Jeremiah 31:31, and also Joel) was that God would remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, and that He would write His Torah on our hearts. Yeshua taught that what mattered was what we felt in our hearts, not just what we did. He said follow God’s commandments and worship Him with all your heart, soul and might, and don’t follow these laws blindly just because you are told to do so. Basically, Yeshua wants us to not just walk the walk, but want to walk the walk and feel it; own it; let it fill you up and become it. 

That is Judaism- loving God and loving to love God, thereby wanting to please God. 

Religion teaches “do this or go to hell!” True, God teaches that, too (in a way) but not as a threat; indeed, as a request to live. God says in Ezekiel that the death of a sinner doesn’t please Him at all- in fact, He would much rather the sinner turn from his sin and live. That is what Yeshua taught.

Everything Yeshua taught was from God’s Word, it was purely the D’var Adonai (Word of God). He was not against the religious teachings, or even against the traditions, per se, but He was against when the traditions were given priority over God’s word.

Do you really think that teaching us to do what God says and not what men say is a different religion than Judaism? If so, you just don’t understand Judaism.

Read the New Covenant, but not King James or some other Gentile version- read a Messianic version (David Sterns “Jewish New Covenant” or “Complete Jewish Bible” is a good start) and get to know the Jewishness of the B’rit Chadashah (Good News). See for yourself if this guy Yeshua really is teaching something different.

Next post: How Can I believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?

Why Jews hate Jesus

First off, they don’t really hate Jesus; they hate the way He has been portrayed.

Let’s go to the Wayback machine, Sherman. In the first century, there were 2 theologies: you were either Jewish, or you were a Pagan. That’s it- no church, no masque, just Jew or Pagan. Then along comes Yeshua (Jesus), and after that there were 4 theologies: Jews who did not believe He was the Messiah, Jews who did, Pagans who accepted Him (and, believe it or not, by doing so were becoming Jewish), and those Pagans, again. So for the first 300 years or so after Yeshua, Gentiles who accepted Him as the Messiah were being slowly converted to Judaism. I say slowly because, as shown in Acts and discussed in Romans (a very, very misunderstood book) the typical restrictions of diet and activity that the Jewish people were used to was not so strictly enforced on the Gentile Believers so as to make their transition to Judaism easier.

Now we move to the Council of Nicene, Constantine, and the beginning of a tremendous schism between Jews and “Christians”. There were no Jews at the Council, and the writings were being collected into a “Christian” bible that had many undertones of antisemitism. One cultural reason is that the Jewish population had been more and more revolting (pardon the pun) to the Roman government, and being Jewish was becoming less and less popular, so the loose restrictions on Gentile Believers became more like, “Forget all that ‘Jewish’ stuff and let’s not be associated with them.” Basically, Jews had been Okedokee and “Christians” bad news to the Romans, but now it was reversed. Thus, I believe, the beginning of the “Jesus hates the Jews” philosophy.

Moving along in history, we had the Crusades, where tens of thousands of Jews (not just Muslims) were told, “Convert, or die!” Then the Inquisition, Martin Luther first loving the Jews, but when they did not go along with his ideas, he turned on them and called them the spawn of the Devil and said all their books should be burned (i.e., destroy the Torah), the Holocaust (Nazi uniforms had the words, “Gott mitt uns”, or “God is with us” on their belt buckle), the Gentleman’s Agreement during that time when America turned away Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany, the Pogroms in Russia, etc. etc. etc..

When you think about all that has been done to Jews in the “name of Jesus”, it’s not hard to understand why Jews don’t like Jesus.

Next post: Did Jesus really start a new religion?