Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Goal Of Many Messianics Is Not To Missionize

This title may come as a shock to you! I didn't even realize until recently that many Jews think that the entire Messianic 'thing' is mainly about missionizing Jews in attempt to get them to believe in their god and messiah. If I am telling you otherwise - then why is my blog self proclaimed as an anti-missionary one? Surely, there are many other questions that would arise from this. It will all be very clear to you shortly, and not just that. You will understand more about the minds of Messianics that will undoubtedly give you a psychological advantage in addressing their claims against the Jewish people.

Jews for Jesus, as I have mentioned before, is not really a Messianic organization. It is mainstream Christian in theology and countless Messianics would not consider them having the same purpose as they themselves do. The confusion that comes from Jews for Jesus being labelled Messianic is that they target Jews for conversion to Christianity, and therefore they want to show the targeted Jew a Jewish depiction of Jesus.

Both might use copious amounts of Jewish imagery in an attempt to feel really, really Jewish - while in reality being very ignorant and looking pretty hilarious. Take this picture, for example:

That's right, seven branched menorot, a shofar which I'm sure they use on Shabbat. Shabbat candles they probably light on Shabbat day... phew - good thing most of them aren't actually Jewish!

However, as I have also explained in previous posts, the majority of those who title themselves Messianic are not heretical Jews, but are former mainstream Christians seeking a deeper understanding of their god and messiah, which has led them, via a handful of quotes from the New Testament, to a Karaite-like view of Torah (reminiscent of the sola scriptura doctrine of Protestantism), and a kind of craving for the supposed Jewish aspect of their messiah.

"We're Torah observant!"

The difference between these former mainstream Christians who now embrace a new sect of Christianity called "Messianic" and the missionaries at Jews for Jesus is that the former are concerned more with getting other Christians to a supposedly more authentic form of Christianity, while the latter are not focused on that but instead seek to convert Jews to Christianity.

Now, there certainly are Messianic organizations that are concerned with converting Jews, but when it comes to the individual Messianic, they are more often than not, not focused on trying to change Jews' beliefs. A few even believe that you shouldn't change Jews' beliefs, but that they are fine as they are and even "saved" by observance of Torah. Others consider them heretical for that, since Paul clearly told them no one is saved by works, while at the same time occasionally stressing the importance of the "law" in his epistles.

Are things clearer, now?

Really, though, is it important to know the intentions and mindsets of all kinds of different Messianics that there are? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because it can give you a better idea of what you might encounter and why. Knowing why, as in where this person comes from and what their motivation in their beliefs are, will give you a big advantage. Also, anti-missionaries can have much better precision in combating this brand of Christianity as opposed to another brand. You cannot always use the same weapon against them all, because among themselves they often do not agree, and they usually are often shooting from totally different positions.
The answer is also no, in that there are universal Christian arguments that cover the Messianic sect as well, which you can combat regardless of whether the opponent is a more mainstream Christian, or a Hebrew-Roots Messianic, or a FFOZ kind of Messianic, or a Nazarene Jewish or Nazarene Israel kind of Messianic, or this other kind, or this kind, or that kind - given the complexity and sometimes minutia of difference between one group to the next.

So, now you know the answer to the question in my beginning paragraph: this blog is not just an anti-missionary blog, it is even more than that. It is an overall Messianic combating blog, as the name clearly implies, because it will argue against Messianic ideas whether or not they are used to try to convert Jews to Christianity.

Every Jew reading this who knows a little bit about his faith, I can tell you - the ideas that abound in Messianic theology are severely limited and can often be shot down with even just a basic knowledge of Hebrew. For example, at a Friday night Messianic "Shabbat gathering", "bible study" on the weekly parasha, I heard someone quote a Messianic commentator correlating the name Levi to the Hebrew word "lev" (meaning heart for those not aware). This is severely comical, since, as you might know, Levi/לוי is spelled with a ו and lev/לב is spelled with a ב - not the same letter thus the words do not originate from the same root word which indicates they would have a similar meaning. Also, ו is truly pronounced w, not v. The confusion is based on the fact that this guy didn't was reading the words Levi and lev in transliterated Hebrew (Hebrew in English letters), and he could not read Hebrew. This oh-so great and insightful Messianic commentator didn't know anything about Hebrew, yet he thought he sure did.

This is why dealing with Messianics and Christian missionaries can be so difficult sometimes - not because they know what they're talking about, but because they know so little about Hebrew, the Torah, Jewish tradition, and they are so stubborn in their ignorance that even when you prove them wrong, to them it is not proving anything. Albeit, of course there are Messianics who do know Hebrew; especially the more scholar-tastic folks at FFOZ and some other organizations.

However, that's not the point. The point is, Jesus was a far cry from being the Jewish Messiah, and that is clear to anyone with even just a basic, unadulterated understanding of Tanakh. Without going into the Oral Torah, which is denied as being authentic by many Messianics, their claims surely can be refuted by merely a surface reading of the Tanakh. The best answer is understanding who the Messiah is supposed to be as pretty clearly laid out in Tanakh and of course with sources in Oral Torah.

Reading the sequence of Tanakh from Samuel through Isaiah is particularly eye-opening. It shows clearly that the yearning for the Messiah to restore Israel to its former glory, and greater, means another David. After Kings David and Solomon, who had finally begun to achieve what the exodus of Egypt and all the generations of Shoftim had been leading up to, the people of Israel began the fall via mainly idolatry and other sins. Therefore, the process of ultimate redemption was unfulfilled and was put off for a later time. Jesus, lehavdil, was nothing like David whatsoever, in fact, polar opposites. What happened as a result of his existence, or supposed existence, has been absolutely the opposite of what the result of the coming of the real Messiah will accomplish. This, perhaps, will be the topic of a future post of mine.