Messianics are scrambling to distance themselves from Ralph Messer, a Messianic leader in Colorado. His recent desecration of a beloved Torah scroll has cast new light on the familiar and painful misbehavior of Christians involved in the Messianic denomination.
It is worthwhile to look at the plethora of monikers being hurled about on the internet: Messer has been called a “self-styled Messianic Rabbi…a charlatan, a showman, and a fraud” by Messianic leader, author, and teacher Daniel Lancaster of First Fruits of Zion and Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship; a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” by Messianic blogger and teacher Derek Leman (also a self-titled “Rabbi” who has no official Jewish semicha); an “impostor, a “quasi-Messianic”; and one whose actions were “repulsive and inappropriate” by another self-proclaimed “Rabbi” David Shiff (again no real Jewish semicha).
Each of these, as well as others like Ron Cantor, a “Messianic Jewish Communicator” try to establish even further distance by pointing out that Messer is not affiliated with “mainline” Messianic Judaism and has no participation in the major ordaining bodies of that same Christian denomination.
All of this flurry is terribly misleading to the untrained eye. On the surface, it may appear like Lancaster, First Fruits of Zion (also a Christian missionary ministry that misappropriates Judaism for Christian evangelization purposes), Leman, Cantor et al., are trustworthy, Gd-fearing Gentiles and apostate Jews who are different from and above Ralph Messer. They would like to be viewed as harmless followers of Jesus who are supportive of the Jewish people. But the truth is they are not.
These men who are outraged about Messer are protesting to protect their own interests and identity. Messer’s actions, as gross as they are, are an exaggeration of the same apostasy that all Messianics embrace. However, these men would like Jews to think that their religion is different than Messer’s but I’d like to repeat what a friend of mine on Facebook said. “You [Christians] show great indignation of a human being being (sic) wrapped in a Torah scroll and rightly so. But don’t seem to make the connection that viewing Jesus as a Torah scroll, “God”, Word of “God”, god-man, is equally blasphemous and outrageous…what is worse, wrapping a Christian Pastor in a Torah scroll or wrapping “God” into the flesh of a man? As horrific as it is to desecrate a Torah scroll, the far worse desecration is when the church puts HaShem in a human being.” Well said Brian Lasater. All Messianics would have to agree, as it is in their Bible, that they believe that Jesus a.k.a. Yeshua is the “Word [read Torah] made flesh” who dwelt among men. Lasater pointedly exposes their hypocrisy.
The Messianics may hide their idolatry and deviousness behind a Torah scroll and other Jewish ceremonial rites and ensnare Jews into believing in a false religion, chas v’shalom, but at least Messer puts his heretical practices right out front. Baruch Hashem, most Jews will not be prey to his antics. It is the other wolves who need to be exposed.
- Messianic rabbi orders preacher wrapped in ‘Auschwitz’ Torah (blogs.jta.org)