On Dec. 16 the Jerusalem Post published an interesting article on the plight of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) entitled Will Israel Ever Accept Messianic Jews?
This situation is nothing new, as the article makes clear. Before my wife and I got married (and before we were believers in Jesus), we went to speak with a progressive rabbi — liberal beyond Reform Judaism (I was raised Conservative). She (who is not Jewish) asked him who is a Jew. He said that anyone that wanted to be a Jew could be one. She said that she didn’t believe that, but that a Jew is one who has the DNA: someone might convert to the Jewish religion, but that did not make him/her a Jew. The rabbi said that’s not so: “anyone could be a Jew that wanted to be, as Ben-Gurion said!” Then I asked about those Jews who believe in Jesus (such as the organization Jews For Jesus), and say that they are still Jews. His face changed…..and hardened: “You cannot be a Jew and believe in Jesus Christ!”
I grew up thinking that a Jew who became a believer in Jesus was either not a Jew anymore, or, at the least, was a bad Jew. My father and mother never reconciled with me still being Jewish after I became a believer. I say that I was born Jew-ish and was born-again a Jew! All this to say, I am not attempting to have Judaism accept me as a Jew. Whenever any Messianic Jew has gone to the Israeli courts to try to prove that they are still Jews for the purpose of aliyah, they have always lost, and brought more difficulty on the others, making aliyah of Jewish believers more difficult. But still, the Lord is bringing some over, including some with big names. Judaism will not accept us; some Jews will. Just like Islam will never accept Israel; but some Muslims might.
The particular story of this woman is really tragic, and only brings shame to our government and nation. Our hope is in Yeshua, also despised and rejected, and thrown out of the vineyard. We, too, must go outside the camp where He is and bear His reproach.
A friend named Sam recently wrote me that it does not not appear logical that one’s Jewishness is determined by others to be dependent on who one believes to be Messiah. He says that there are sects of Jews in various parts of the world who have believed their head rabbi is likely the Messiah, and there are Jews who believe in Buddha, or other eastern religions, or maybe even atheist, but they are not stripped of the title.
The Jewish people follow(ed) false messiahs, but none of them claim(ed) that they are the Son of God and that God was their personal Father. This is what brought the charge of blasphemy against Jesus, and what is still the core problem to the unbelieving Jewish mind (and, sadly, to some who also claim to be believers): that ‘that Man’ is God in the flesh, and all that that means. So, there is a logic to it, even if we now know that it is based on believing the lie rather than the truth. The battle is spiritual, not logical/carnal. And, yes, it is the spirit of the antichrist and false prophet, so we continue to pray and to preach the gospel to our people that they might repent and believe, calling on the name of the Lord for salvation.