Co-written with “Almoni” blogger @2000yeardebate.blogspot.com
But what do we know? We’re just a couple of guys who have lived this article quite literally. So pay attention…there may just be something in here for you.
How do you prevent a viral infection? Give a person a small dose of the virus itself of course. It’s counter-intuitive but an effective treatment nevertheless. However it only works within key parameters: the antigen must be introduced in such a way as to produce the greatest action and the vaccine must also contain preservatives in the solution to prevent infection in the delivery system.
This is similar to what is happening to Christians who get caught up in the Hebrew Roots movement of Christianity (also called “Messianic Judaism”). The Christian turned “Messianic” gets warned by his Christian and Messianic friends that the Talmud is dangerous and that the works and teachings of the Rabbis are purely a man-made religion. He is told horror stories of former Messianics who traversed the dangerous waters of Jewish Orthodoxy and as a result rejected Jesus and lost their salvation. As time goes on, and this troubled soul begins practicing more and more authentic Judaism, the “forbidden texts” begin to breathe life into his psyche and feed his intellect for the first time in his search.
The skepticism and guilt that initially overshadows the joy the Messianic felt when he began to study Chazal scatters like a dust cloud as he starts to take what he is reading seriously; he realizes that there is something genuine and real to what the Sages are teaching. For a while he still sees Jesus as the focus of this new information, and gets excited when he finds similar teachings to Jesus’ words in the Talmud (Jesus never brought anything new. He merely restated ideas or borrowed statements from other thinkers). But eventually he accepts Jewish precepts that no longer allow him to believe that Jesus is divine. He gives the Christian New Testament a more honest reading and sees that parts of it, especially Paul, but even some of Jesus’ own teachings and behavior, are incompatible with true Judaism. As his identity shifts he begins to accept Judaism on its own terms and not from the distorted, perverted lens of Christianity. From here it is not a far jump for him to realize that Jesus cannot be the Jewish Messiah either. But this process usually only happens if the Christian embraces the teachings of the Sages and starts living by the Oral Torah–this is the preservative for the antigen.*
But what is the mechanism going on here? Why do so many Messianics who see the validity of the Oral Torah end up rejecting Jesus? A friend of mine who recently left Messianic Judaism, the author of the blog 2000yeardebate.blogspot.com, believes that “Orthodox Messianic Judaism is a gateway drug into pure Orthodox Judaism.” But is this the way it should be?
Albeit healthy when a non-Jewish Messianic comes to see the lies behind Christianity/Messianic Judaism, conversion is not necessarily the most worthwhile step for him at this stage. He only needs to remain faithful to the seven laws given to Noach, as they are the Gentile’s only obligation. He becomes what is called a Noachide. This is a perfectly good place for him to be. He does not need to go any further by converting to Judaism; he is righteous before G-d. He should go on to consult with an Orthodox Rabbi and learn about what his role is as a righteous Gentile in regards to the Torah and Israel.
The resources are sparse, but if he digs and persists he will be rewarded. He should also try to find others like him in order to create a community. The web is beginning to yield resources, but beware–Christian and Messianic pastors and teachers who call themselves Noachides are still on the prowl proffering advice in hopes of getting donations in exchange for their teachings. But their advice is tainted with idolatry and incorrect theology. A friend recently told me that he had learned on the internet that he could still believe in Jesus and be considered a Noachide. This is absolutely incorrect. Get a real teacher and learn from him.
Tragically, it seems that after some of these former Christian/Messianics have experienced elements of true Judaism, and have touched base with the wisdom and teachings of the Sages of Israel, they will encounter a huge identity crisis. They may feel that being a Noachide is not fulfilling enough. How could they? They felt the divine presence of the Sabbath, experienced a Pesach Seder. They were intrigued by the Gemara’s logic and the consistency of the Talmud, and many learned enough Hebrew and Aramaic to begin to truly learn (all this without a Jewish soul!). Yet, Messianic Jewish leaders have put these Gentiles in this position. It is their fault for these men, women and children could have been thriving just as well spiritually by living according to the wealth and depth of the Noachide laws. But for self-serving purposes like furthering the “Messianic mission” and deceiving true Jews, the leadership sacrifices these poor Gentiles on the altar of evangelism.
The good news is that those Gentiles who are genuinely better off being Jews can search for Orthodox Rabbis to assist them with this process. We can trust Hashem to draw all the Jewish neshamos back into His service. We can pray that everyone coming out of Messianic Judaism will find their true and proper place in this world.
*Please know that I am not condoning any of this because a non-jew should not learn Oral Torah. I’m just reporting a process that appears to be happening more and more lately.
- משיחית או משחית (meshikhit or mashkhit )? (lehitgayer.com)
- Messianics = Christians Wrapped In Torah Scrolls (lehitgayer.com)
- 5 Things ‘The Walking Dead’ Can Teach You About Converting to Judaism (lehitgayer.com)