The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1-11, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?
“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Please Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anti-anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Bowman]

“It must be clearly and unequivocally stated that theology cannot save you. Only faith in Messiah Yeshua can save you. Theology can only give you sound doctrine.” [RLS]

Unless otherwise specified, throughout the Theology section of my website I use the term “Torah” in the wider sense of including the entire body of inspired Scripture: both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings. I personally do not consder any other so-called “sacred writings” either inspired by God or authoritative for the Believer’s walk of faith. Thus, I do not consider the Mishnah (the “Oral Torah”) as part of Torah. You should make up your own mind.

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]


Messianic Gerut
“Conversion” to Messianic Judaism

I was engaged recently in a conversation with two of my best friends in the world (they are not Jewish), during which they both espoused the opinion that when a Jewish person embraces the Jewish Messiah they de facto have “converted” to Christianity and have become “Christians.” I will endeavor in this article to briefly explain why this is incorrect.

First of all, the term “conversion” means to renounce one’s present or former religion and embrace the tenets of a new religion (see, for example definitions.net). Since the rebirth of the Messianic Jewish Restoration in 1967, the vast majority of Jewish people who have embraced the Jewish Messiah and accepted Him as the divine Son of God have renounced nothing of their Jewish faith except:

Second, I believe one can successfully argue that “Christianity” is an exclusively Gentile religion, separate and distinct from both Messianic and non-Messianic Judaism. The following are but a few of the false teachings of Christianity that make it separate and distinct from both Messianic and non-Messianic Judaism:

So it can be seen that for a Jewish person to “convert to Christianity,” much more is required than simply accepting Yeshua (Jesus’ real name) as the Messiah.

Why is this a critically important distinction?

Because the original Israeli “Law of Return” defined a Jew as “a person whose mother is Jewish or who has converted to Judaism under an Orthodox conversion, and who has not converted to another religion.” A 1970 amendment, however, stated that, “The rights of a Jew under this law and the rights of oleh (aliyah, or immigration) under the Nationality Law … are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew, and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew.”

This means that under Israeli law, any person who “converts” to Christianity (including Messianic Judaism) is no longer considered legally Jewish, as if recognizing the historical fact that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah somehow changes the person’s DNA!

The Supreme Court of Israel ruled in 1989 that Messianic Judaism constituted “another religion,” and that Jewish people who had become Messianic were not eligible for aliyah under the law.

On April 16, 2008, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in a case brought by a number of people with Jewish fathers and grandfathers whose applications for citizenship had been rejected on the grounds that they were Messianic Jews. The argument was made by the applicants that because their mothers were not Jewish they had never been Jews according to halakhah, and were not therefore excluded by the conversion clause. They immigrate as the non-Jewish relative of a Jew, and not as a Jew. This argument was upheld in the ruling, and the government agreed to reprocess their applications.

However,  a 2012 ruling of Israel's Rabbinical Assembly holds that, “A Jew becoming a Christian is an apostate and whatever laws apply to an apostate apply to a ‘messianic Jew.’

Interestingly enough, under that same Law of Return, or Nationality Law, one does not have to reaffirm their Jewishness or practice any of the laws of Torah to be Jewish. In fact, one of the “accepted denominations” of Judaism is Humanistic Judaism, a Jewish movement that offers a non-theistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism as the cultural and historic (but not religious) experience of the Jewish people and encourages humanistic and secular Jews to celebrate their Jewish identity by participating in Jewish holidays and lifecycle events (such as weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs) with inspirational ceremonies that draw upon, but go beyond, traditional literature.

However, it is widely recognized that:

So it’s OK to totally reject both the Torah and the God of Israel and still be considered Jewish, but anyone who recognizes the historic fact of Yeshua’s Messiahship cannot possibly be Jewish.

Because the Israeli Supreme Court, as well as Judaism in general, considers Messianic Judaism to be “another religion,” it is of utmost importance that those of us within the Messianic Jewish Movement continue with all possible effort to be reconciled with, and be accepted into, world Judaism as that which we in actuality are-- a “branch,” “sect,” or “denomination” of Judaism which accepts Yeshua of Nazareth as Israel’s Messiah.

It is therefore of utmost importance to the Messianic Restoration Movement that we maintain a clear distinction between Messianic Judaism and Gentile Christianity, and recognize the fact that accepting the Messiahship of Yeshua is clearly not the same as converting to Christianity.

This discussion continues here.


 

  1. The “Oral Tradition” contained in the Talmud is a 6,000+ page collection of commentary on the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures, primarily the Torah) that is of great value in determining how the Sages interpreted the Scriptures. It constitutes the “case law” of Jewish jurisprudence. Many “traditional” Jews who become Messianic continue to hold the “Oral Tradition” as authoritative. [BACK]

Page last updated on Tuesday, 26 September 2023 01:32 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

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