Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What All Branches of Judaism Can Agree On: Jesus Is Not Moshiach

Let's talk a little about Moshiach (the Messiah). I'll admit, I'm not as well versed on Moshiach as I should be because since there is no world peace, I know that Moshiach hasn't arrived yet. The lion has not laid down with the lamb, we haven't made our swords into plowshares, and there is not an end to war. While I have so many other areas that need more immediate detailed knowledge (kashrut, lashon hara, etc), I don't see the need to delve further than the knowledge I just listed. (If you disagree, I'd love to hear your argument!)

So let's get one thing straight: If you want to convert to Judaism-in any movement-Jesus is not Moshiach. You cannot believe in Jesus as anything more than a historical person. (But yes, you can believe he existed as a historical person.) Messianic Jews are not Judaism, they belong to Christianity. Many aren't even Jews. I suggest checking out Jews for Judaism. Further, Jesus is not a prophet in the Jewish religion; you're thinking of Islam (as I understand).

I know, I get off easy because I wasn't raised Christian. I didn't have to work to overcome a Christian training. (Though that might be debatable since I grew up in the Bible Belt!) However, my understanding is that many former Christians approach Judaism precisely because Jesus doesn't "seem right" to them. If you feel pulled between these two worlds, I wish you luck and strength.


  1. Well stated. It might also be worth noting that if you think the Messianic "Yeshua" is the Mashiach rather than the "Christian" Jesus, you *still* can't convert. Judaism doesn't accept any such distinction.

  2. I agree with Sarah on that one! lol

    Many do approach Judaism through the eyes of Christianity, but if you're serious about conversion you're going to find out sooner or later that you're going to have to drop all previous religious notions and start from scratch. Shame on any religious leader or Rabbi who wouldn't make certain this idea didn't slip through the cracks with a potential convert!

    as far as Moshiach - I do think very much it's something to concern us with. Judaism isn't just a way of life, it isn't just a religious, it isn't just a people - it is a nation with a purpose given by Hashem himself. While many things might pull us towards Judaism (the music, the routines, the beautiful prayers, the incredible ease in conversion (not!)... the reason purpose behind Judaism is that they are the Chosen people - Chosen to bring in Moshiach.
    We may not all have the same level of interest in the guelah and Moshiach - we all have different passions - but we ALL need to be concerned with it. We all need to actively participate in this vital part of Judaism. It is the very ESSENCE of Judaism. and in my humble opinion the ignorance of Moshiach is working against the Jewish people more than any of it's enemies.

  3. forgive me for all the typos. I could give you a list of good excuses, but the truth is I'm just a typo kinda person. ;)

  4. Well said. The Jesus Question was one of the first (possibly the very first, actually) questions that my sponsoring rabbi asked me. For me, Jesus was really a non-issue; it was doubt over his status within the Christian religion that first sent me looking elsewhere, and I never felt any big attachment to him as a Christian, so looking at all of the information and saying, "Nope, definitely not Moshiach," wasn't a big deal or a big stumbling block for me. That said, I can understand that for people raised in other Christian denominations, where a "personal relationship with Jesus" is much more heavily emphasized, the kind of doubting and eventual rejection I went through could be much more painful and difficult.

  5. I understand all that has been said. But I worry about the fact that I was raised in a household where we memorized scriptures; sometimes Christian ones slip out into the front of my brain. Many of them are so close to Jewish ones, but with one or two words added (kind of like many of the Psalms are Torah-based). I always had a tough time keeping citations straight, but I have an easy time linking scriptural concepts together and juxtaposing them. (Part of how I came to Judaism).

    Right now, I try not to mention scriptures that pop into my head for fear that it will get me in trouble, but I am worried that this could prevent me from being completely honest with my beit din/rabbi in response to a question. It is also holding back my ability to study Torah as well as I would like to.

    Can anybody relate/share advice? How do I forget things that are imprinted in my memory so strongly?

  6. Thank you for this post! I know some people who believe that they can somehow convert while still believing in Jesus. Jesus is a Christian thing no matter how you paint it and as a Christian who respects Jewish culture I find it appalling that some seem to think you can slap Christianity onto anything and propiet Jewish traditions fo their own use. I cringe when I see Messianc Jews wearing tallits and doing what they please with sacred Jewish garments and objects. It's like they are play acting to me.

  7. Anonymous, you should be as open and honest with your beit din as possible. They should be aware of any possible underlying issues - knowing that the GT cites the OT (Only Testament!) is, in of itself, not a problem.

    The thing to keep in mind is that the GT is NOT scripture - we never regarded any of its works as being. Its historical accounts are suspect, its contradictions unresolvable; try keeping that in mind when the temptation arises.


  8. I also ceased to believe in Jesus' divinity a few years ago. However, I chose to become a Quaker as a result. I was completely open at my Friends' admission interview that while I strongly believe in God, I don't believe in the specifics of Christian theology any longer. I was admitted with no problem, as my strong and longstanding commitment to Quaker social justice positions was deemed more important than my specific beliefs. I think it was the right choice for me, given my Christian cultural imprinting, and also because my forebears have also been Quakers, although it's not an unbroken line of membership.

    Being or becoming a Jew encompasses *much* more than this specific theological position, and this excellent blog shows clearly why. Superb resource! I am learning so much and am really grateful for your efforts.

  9. I so very much appreciate everyone's honesty and non-judgementalism. I came from a sick and damaging christian background that taught nothing even close to the truth about Hashem and his scriptures. Over the years I have worked very hard to throw it all out and now I see my upbringing as a cult. After 60 years I am still in the process of overcoming the brain washing. I just wanted to share with everyone how destructive christianity was for me and my relationship with Hashem. I think it is very sad that christianity is so widespread and has led so very many people away from the one true El Shaddai, it makes me angry and I'm sure that Hashem cries over it.

  10. I so much appreciate the honesty and non-judgementalism shared here. I was raised in a christian, what I now see as a, cult. I started Sunday school wth Gramma at 3 and I'm 64 now and I still have thoughts interfere with what I know to be true. It is so very sad that christianity prevails worldwide and that so few people know the only, One and true El Shaddai. I know too that Hashem cries over these misled people and that their leaders will stand before him one day when the true Moshiach comes.