A group of people in the State of Israel today call themselves “Messianic Jews.” According to a popular Israeli dictionary, Messianic Jews are “a sect of Jews who have declared themselves as Jews in their nationality and for their faithfulness to the State of Israel and as Christians in their religious expression.” In conversations with many of these people, I was told that the word “Christian” is actually an expression of their particular Messianic faith and hope. Their faith and hope is centered in Jesus as the Messiah, but they identify with Jewish people and claim that they are still Jewish.
In the West there is a growing interest among Jewish people in general in the claims of Jesus and in what the New Testament has to say. In the period since the 1968 unrest on the campuses of many universities, newspapers and magazines, secular as well as religious, have reported the stories of many Jewish young people who have become Jewish believers in Jesus the Messiah. These Jewish young people say that they are Messianic Jews, and they feel they are still Jewish. This state of affairs has alarmed many Jewish leaders, and they have taken steps to stop the “conversion.” Some have proceeded in a drastic manner while others have taken the slower route of a reeducation, trying to provide the values for a stronger Jewish identity among their young people.
Understandably, Judaism does not want to lose its young people through “conversion to Christianity.” On the other side, however, Jewish believers in Jesus do assert their Jewishness by their allegiance to the Bible (both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament were written almost entirely by Jewish people). These believers ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more