What does being “Messianic” mean?
Many people simply have never heard of us!
And they mistake us for other groups, which are occult groups. WE ARE NOT!
We are “OF MESSIAH”, Messiah meaning ‘Anointed One,’ and in our case, the Anointed One of G-d, Yeshua the Natzri, the Son of G-d.
First of all, names and classifications of people-groups are irrelevant to G-d in His Kingdom. On earth, they serve a purpose of identity, however, and can be useful. But, they can also be harmful by segregating people, creating confusion, and engendering pride. This is not an attempt to do that, but to explain why we ‘identify’ with a wider group of people worldwide who are called “Messianic”.
It has recently come to my attention that some folks do not understand what it means when a person says he is “Messianic”.
I guess one technical definition would be “of or pertaining to Messiah”.
For those of us who say we follow “Messianic Judaism”, however, it is even more narrow than that.
First, being Messianic means that we follow the Messiah of the Jews. In our case, we believe that Messiah to be Yeshua of Nazareth. Are we “christian”? That depends on one’s understanding of what ‘christian’ means. The word “christian” is similar to the word “messianic”; it means “little christ”, in the sense of one who follows ‘christ’, just as “Messianic” means one who follows “Messiah”. Messiah means “anointed one”, and the greek word ‘christ’ is very similar. But, we who are “Messianic” are not ‘christian’ in the WAY we follow the Jewish Messiah, distinct from the way some say they follow ‘christ’, who is a very ‘greek’ person devoid of all things Jewish, including his name.
Christianity today has evolved from what the original followers of Messiah believed and practiced. The twelve apostles were all Jewish, and they continued in the instructions of the Jews for the rest of their lives, teaching Gentiles to follow the customs of the Jews. [I Cor 11:2, 2 Thess 2:15, 3:6, Matt 5:19] And they called themselves followers of “The Way”, “HaDerekh”, a Hebrew synonym for “Torah”. [Acts 19:23, 21:5, 24:22] They did not consider themselves to be outside the auspices of Jewish life, then, and defended that fact in court and before kings. It was the greeks who first called them “christians”, [acts 11:26]. But the apostles did not call themselves that until much later, and then only once [I Peter 4:16], and there is no evidence they called themselves that very often at all, since they suffered at the hands of greeks as ‘christians’. It was a derogatory term, an insulting pejorative. The Jews called the believers in Messiah “Nazarenes”, since they followed “The Way” of Yeshua the Nazarene. [Acts 24:5] Historically, LATER ‘christians’ called Jews who followed Yeshua “Nazarenes” as well.
So, we who call ourselves “Messianic” follow the Messiah, the word that would be translated as ‘christ’. But, we do not follow a greek ‘messiah’, or ‘christ’, or one who is divorced from the Torah of Israel. We follow the Messiah, Yeshua, the one who was executed as “King of the JEWS”. We follow Him the way He said to: “If you love me you will keep my commandments”.
Briefly, we believe that Yeshua of Nazareth was born miraculously, and is the Son of G-d, and that the final proof of that fact is that G-d raised Him from the dead. He died to atone for our sins, or to forgive us of all our violations of the Torah, freeing us from our guilt and from fear of punishment for it. But, where we differ from much of modern ‘christianity’ is that we believe He did not free us to go on living in those violations, but that we should strive to be like Him. He kept the Torah perfectly.
This means that He believed יהוה was the only G-d, and only ONE. [Mark 12:29, Deut 6:4] So do we. This means He went to the synagogue on Shabbat, the SEVENTH day. [Mat 12:9, Mark 1:21, Luke 4:16] So do we. This means He ate kosher according to Leviticus 11 and other Torah texts. So do we. This means He wore a four-cornered garment with “tzit-tziyot” as reminders of the Sabbath and all other commands. [Numbers 15, Matt 9:20, 14:36] So do we. This means He kept all the feasts of G-d, along with the Sabbath. [Lev 23, Matt 26:18, Mark 14:1, John 7, 8] So do we. This means that He prayed often. [Luke 5:16, 22:32] So do we.
We also see Him as a Jew, and not just a ‘guy’. This means He called Himself Yeshua, and Messiah. So do we. This means that He knew that the name of His Father, G-d, was יהוה , and He called Him that. [Mark 12:29, Matt 4:7, Matt 22:44] So do we. This means that He prayed with his head covered, and wore a head-covering everywhere. [Exodus (28:4, 37, 40)] So do we. This means that He did not eat the meat of the inner thigh. [Genesis 32.32] Neither do we. This means He honored Khanukah. [John 10] So do we.
So, while we agree that we are not to commit adultery, nor to steal, nor to kill, nor to lie, nor to covet, nor to worship idols, we as Messianics also believe the fourth command is still just as binding as the other nine. And, we see that all the feasts will be kept in the Millennial Reign [Zekh 14, Isaiah], so we also keep them now, as did Yeshua. Further, we see that the first commandment tells us explicitly that our G-d is יהוה , and not just any “concept” of god which man might contrive, and NOT a ‘god’ that goes by any other name, ie, Allah, Buddah, etc….
In short, we follow HIM, and not men. We are instructed to see HIM as our example, and not anyone else. “ANYONE who SAYS he abides in Him ought himself also to walk HIS halakha”. I John 2:6
[Halakha is a Jewish word meaning “how one walks the Torah”. Yeshua walked it in a “pure” way, not adding to it nor taking away from it. That is what He came to Israel to correct: adding to and taking away from the commands of G-d. See Mark 7:1-11]
This means that NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE says, or how lofty the argument, nor how passionately we are opposed, no one can show us in scripture that He worshipped on ‘sun-day’, or ate pork or catfish, or dressed like a Babylonian, or neglected prayer, or studied any other sacred writ than Torah and Nevi’im. He did not add to the commands, and neither did He take away. Christians teach that He took them ALL away! “I did NOT come to abolish the Torah”. “Whoever shall DO and TEACH the commandments, that one shall be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” [Matt 5:17,19]
It truly is that simple. And, this applies to Jew and Gentile, as “anyone” is all-encompassing.
So, being Messianic means following the “way” of the quintessential Jew: Yeshua of Nazareth. Is it “christian” to do so? Well, if one goes back to the origin of that word ‘christian’, then YES, as we are “little messiahs”, or little ones who are anointed with His anointing. If one asks whether we are ‘christian’ in the sense of other doctrines that paint a confusing picture about the Jewish Savior who died on a tree [not a ‘cross’, a word that is not even in the texts], then, no, we are not ‘modern-day christians’. We do not see three “people” stuffed into one “body” as Constantine insisted, we do not worship on the day of the Sun as Constantine commanded; we do not keep Easter as Constantine commanded, we do not keep ‘christmas’ as was imposed on christianity in early antiquity, and we do not recklessly eat anything we want; not because we are forbidden, but because we love our G-d, and choose to follow His instructions [Torah], which are good for us. [Psalm 119] We choose to follow the only example that is SURE! One cannot go wrong by imitating the Messiah Yeshua! [Phil 3:12, 1 Cor 11:1] That is what being Messianic is; it is being a Jew INWARDLY , [Rom 2:29] and that inward ‘circumcision’ being expressed in the whole life of the follower of Yeshua of Nazareth, and His Way.
Our Congregation could further define itself as a “Messianic Jewish Peshitta” community, as we also believe the Brit Khadashah was written in Aramaic first, and is best preserved in the Peshitta community’s Aramaic scriptures. Further, the above description is basically defined as “Peshitta”, meaning we follow the PLAIN MEANING of the texts. The Ancient Aramaic community of faith REJECTED the Constantinian takeover of the community of faith, and were dubbed “Peshitta” by Rome, meaning “simple”, because they rejected the new ‘trinity’ doctrine, standing firm on what the ‘plain meaning’ of the text says. In Judaism, there are four levels of studying scripture: Peshat, Remez, D’resh, and Sod. The Peshat level is the ‘plain meaning,’ and NO other means of interpreting scripture can violate the PLAIN MEANING. Example: “יהוה is our Elohim, יהוה is ONE.” This is very, very plain. So, when we then understand that HE MANIFESTS in His Son and in His Ru’akh, we cannot then say that He is THREE…..this is a violation of the plain meaning of the text.