Only Torah Observant Jews and studied Noahides really have a clue about who G-d is and what He wants. It does not matter how educated a person is, how long they have attended church or how many years they went to a Reform Jewish camp as a kid, it is only the person who is occupied in the Torah that can speak about G-d from our limited, human understanding with any truth. All the rest will simply mislead you.
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)
Today I read a mashal (parable) from Rebbe Nachman. He says like this:
Once, an important trader was traveling with a consignment of fine Hungarian wine. During the journey his assistant and the carriage driver said to him, “Here we are, traveling with all this wine. It’s a very hard journey – give us a little taste of the wine.” He agreed to let them have a small taste.
A few days later, the assistant happened to be in a small town with some people who were drinking wine and praising it extravagantly. They said it was Hungarian. “Let me have a taste,” said the assistant. They gave him some, and he said, “This isn’t fine Hungarian wine at all!” They were most offended and told him to leave, but he insisted: “I know very well that this wine isn’t Hungarian, because I was with a wine merchant who had genuine Hungarian wine and he gave me some to try. I know what it really tastes like.” But they ignored him. Read More
This Shabbat was a weird one. After meeting with the Chabad rabbi last week and not being able to get an answer about how much we should continue in our observance of Torah until we convert, it seemed wrong to make Kiddush on Erev Shabbat. This pained me a great deal and it was heartbreaking to explain this to my wife and even harder to have to enforce it. There was no Challah, no Kiddush, no Netilat Yadayim, only dvar Torah.
Why is this necessary? Well, what right do we have to do Jewish things? How can we claim for ourselves what was meant only for the Jewish people? Surely that is what the Christians/Messianics do based on their false belief that they are a part of Israel because they “believe in” Jesus. It is a hard reality to face for former Messianics who find that their love of Torah is wrapped up in a false messiah. Once they realize he’s not the guy, what do they have left? The Noachide laws? That won’t work for me.
I want my family to take the higher ground and do Jewish things because we’re Jewish, not because we are stealing. I want to be guided by a rabbi who can make our conversion the best possible experience so that we become holy Jews who have something to offer to Israel and to be a light to the Goyim.
My wife’s question from Friday night is still ringing in my ears: “What else are you going to take away?” How can I know? We need a guide so that we do this right. I don’t want to be stripped of everything but I also don’t want to be a liar and a thief. G-d help us and may we get answers soon!
After Motzei Shabbat, my closest friend joined us for the evening as we prepared Chanukkah themed prizes for our party coming up Tuesday night. As we talked, he finally got around to saying, “I’m really ticked at you for doing this,” referring to my belief that Jesus is a false messiah. When I asked him why he said that several years ago I had promised him that I would never do this and that he was worried this was the first step in my becoming an atheist. I told him that the atheist fear was a common worry among Christians when their friends realize the truth about Jesus. I pointed out that the New Testament can not stand alone without the Tanakh but the Tanakh stands alone just fine without the New Testament. I explained that identifying Jesus as a false messiah was in no wise taking a step back from G-d. Rather, I was deepening my faith in Hashem and distancing myself from idolatry.
As for the alleged promise I made him, what can I say? I refuse to be held responsible for a belief based on information that I didn’t know back then that I do have now which causes me to see Jesus in a true light which is making me renege on an impossible promise to keep. If I did promise him that I would never stop believing in Jesus I regret doing so and will be more careful in the future about making promises.
But really…I was disappointed he didn’t have a little more force to his discussion with me. He didn’t try to debate. He didn’t dig. No threats to shun me. He was the easiest to tell this news to. The hardest will be coming up in a few weeks. Please stay tuned.
my first shabbat as a heretic
Today I sat in the midst of the little home chavurah I attend with my little “secret” boiling inside of me. At this point, only my wife knew of my realization that Jesus is not the messiah and we haven’t decided how to tell the group or how we will leave it. After much internal debate, I decided that I had to tell my best friend before we announced all of this to everyone else. I’ve known him for almost sixteen years. Our friendship did not begin based on religious ideals and I hope that it won’t end because of them. We’ll see. My stomach turned waiting for the time to pass and I felt more alone than ever.