The Messianic Jewish Movement is a phenomenon that few people foresaw even twenty years ago. It's rise and growth has been as unexpected to most people as the sudden birth of the State of Israel 40 years ago, when a nation was born in a day. There is absolutely not a shadow of a doubt in our minds that this movement has been born out of the heart of God.
In the late 60's and the early 70's, when there were few Jews in North America who had believed on Yeshua the Messiah, and almost none in Israel, we had a revelation from the Word of God that there was going to be a national Jewish revival in Israel-a revival of Jews being resurrected spiritually into the righteousness of God through His Atoning Lamb, Yeshua (Jesus).
THE JEWS' OWN OLIVE TREE
We saw that from the plain Word of God Jews would again be regrafted into their own olive tree (Rom 11:24, Deut 30:5,6). The root of that ancient tree we are told is Abraham, the father of faith (Rom 4:16). But some of the Jews had been broken off of it. Even so, Paul states that there has always been a remnant of Jews in the Kingdom of God (Rom 11:5).
But, according to the Good News of the Scriptures, God is able to graft the broken branches on to their original tree (Rom 11:23) through the blood of His Lamb.
In the late 60's, there was no such movement yet evident in Israel, and only the tiniest stirrings in America. Today, there are over 30 Hebrew speaking groups and congregations in Israel. There are hundreds of congregations in the U.S. and now the movement is taking hold among the Jews in South America, Europe, England and even Australia.
People ask, "Who's the leader of this movement?" To those inquiries we must only shake our heads and answer that there is no earthly leader. There is not a great Lubavitcher Rabbi to lead his awe-struck disciples. There is no Wesley or Luther or
Finney or any other dynamic figure on the horizon. There is not even an Ezra or Nehemiah to lead the faithful of Israel back to the land, and back to a walk of holiness and spiritual separation from the world.
Yet, in the most extraordinary way the beginnings of this revival have spontaneously combusted in different places of Israel and the nations of the world where Jews are. In many instances, God has raised up leaders who are unassuming earnest servants of God. Most have not been schooled in yeshiva or seminary. But in much the same way as the first century believers, they are leading home groups of Jewish believers which are growing into congregations.
Many Gentile Christians who love Israel and who love the whole Word of God, including the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), are also attending these Jewish congregations.
In the last 20 years, both Jewish and Christian believers have had to grapple with this phenomenon. Christians have had to settle in their own hearts as to how a Jew can be saved as a Jew, be in one body of the Messiah with all believers, and yet have his own separate identification as a Jew. Even though the concept is Scriptural (I Cor 7: 18-20), the day-to-day outworking has been a challenge.
THE MESSIANIC JEW AND JEWISH HOLIDAYS
The Jewish believers have worked hard at returning to their roots, finding the beauty and strength of God-ordained holidays such as Passover, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles, plus holidays celebrated since Bible days such as Hanukkah and Purim, not to mention Israel's Independence Day, Israel's Memorial Day to its fallen, and Holocaust Day.
The birth of Yeshua is joyously celebrated by many Gentile Christians. But Jewish culture has never celebrated the birth of anyone. Rather, those so honored are remembered on the day they have finished their task on earth. For example, if George
Washington had been a founding father of Israel, we would remember him on the day he died, not on the day he was born.
Whereas, Christians rejoice over Yeshua's resurrection on Easter, Messianic Jews remember the death of Yeshua on
Passover and celebrate his resurrection three days later. We, ourselves, celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua on the third day of the counting of the Omer, another God-given set of holidays. The counting of the Omer begins the day after the Passover "sabbath" or day of rest (Lev 23:10).
WHERE ARE A MESSIANIC JEW'S ROOTS?
Much energy has been put into finding the Jewish roots of the Messianic Jewish movement. Since such a large percentage of world Jewry has lost all faith in God and knows nothing of its roots, neither scripturally or traditionally, the movement has been forced, thank God, to look back into the Word of God as to how a Jew should conduct himself and relate to his own calling as a Jew.
Considerable energy has also been expended trying to deal with the criticism of Gentile Christians, some who have actual latent anti-Semitism, and some who need assurance that the born again Jews are not somehow more "chosen" than their born again Gentile brothers.
Other Christians have sincere and legitimate questions and fears. Thank God there are Gentile believers who are secure in their glorious place with God, who genuinely want to encourage what God is doing among His Jewish people as this age comes to a close.
This type of Christian lets God "worry" about what place each of His children will be given in the Kingdom of God. Personally, we can say, we don't mind what God does with Jew or Gentile believers. We do know He has it all figured out, and most of it He's keeping to Himself for right now.
May we hasten to add that the Messianic movement has suffered many blows from without and also from within. Pride, the curse of mankind, has smitten born-again believers down through the ages. Yet, it is rarely seen by the same individual or nation who suffers from it!
PRIDE IS EASY TO DETECT-IN SOMEONE ELSE!
Christians promptly detect the plague when it is present among Jewish believers. And Jewish believers just as speedily point it out when they see it in the Gentile Christian part of God's Body. In this particular Christian-Jewish arena pride is usually articulated as “We are God's number one favorite, and don't you try to push me out of the number one slot!"
Whoever we are, as criticism comes our way, we must have an attitude of openness to see if the shoe fits, and to do something about it if it does. If the shoe does not fit, then we must keep on keeping on, navigating the road the Lord has set before us and let God take care of the criticism. '
However, with all the growth, with all the battles being fought and won, with the hundreds and even thousands of Jewish believers that are finding their Hope of Glory, yet we must say-and we are part of this great movement- we feel there is an important element that needs to be greatly strengthened and emphasized in the Messianic Movement. And that is, a greater knowledge and acknowledgement of the person of Yeshua the Messiah Himself.
MESSIANIC JUDAISM IS A REVOLUTION
Messianic Judaism is a revolution, (A revolution is bringing into general acceptance an idea or concept that was rejected or unknown by the majority in the past). Our revolution is: The person, Yeshua the Messiah, whom our builders rejected, will be accepted by Israel. He will be accepted as the Messiah, Savior, Leader, Living Revelation of the essence of God Himself.
Revolutions are led by personalities of men and women who have caught the imaginations of their people. The weight of their persons, the strength of their character brings change to their nations-whether it is new hope or disaster and destruction.
Yet today, if the leader of our movement is Yeshua the Messiah, the Hope of Israel, our movement is lacking an all out, no punches pulled, all stops out proclamation of the personality of our leader.
YESHUA IS NOT JUST A MESSIAH, HE IS NOT JUST A SAVIOR
Even the New Age movements accept the Messiah as a concept! But in their minds he is an impersonal spirit. New Wavers are spearheading a "messianism movement" which will set up a new world order.
In Israel, we have little robots which can walk to a certain spot and pick up a suspicious object and return it to a place where it can be safely blown up. These robots have saved many lives from terrorist bombs. They are saviors in their own right.
But, Yeshua is not a faceless robot savior. He is not the faceless Messiah of Rabbinical Judaism. Orthodox Jews around the world pray for the Messiah to come, wait for Him to come, hope for Him to come. But He has no face.
ORTHODOX JUDAISM HAS LOST ITS WAY
Orthodox Judaism has lost the understanding of God's plan of salvation. Moses understood it. The prophets and King David longed to see the day in which God would reveal Himself in the Messiah!
It has been said by some that the only difference between Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews is that one believes the Messiah is yet to come, and the other believes He has already come.
This is emphatically not true. Messianic Jews have the opportunity to come face to face with our awesome God, as Moses did, through our Messiah.
The Bible says, Moses chose Yeshua the Messiah over the riches of Egypt (Heb 11:26). The Bible says Yeshua the Messiah was the rock from which Moses and the children drank in order to survive (I Cor 10:4).
As God favored Moses with a breathtaking revelation of His nature, so God favored all of Israel by tabernacling Himself among men as the King of the Jews. The same Messiah that Moses chose has now been revealed to us in all His majesty and incredible love.
OUR MOVEMENT NEEDS A MOSAIC REVELATION OF THE MESSIAH
Yeshua the Messiah is more than an anonymous instrument of God sent to bring us salvation. Yeshua the Messiah is the representative of the personality, the character, the characteristics, the essence, the holiness and the power of God Himself. Everything that God is and has, he poured into Yeshua
May neither fear, pride nor ignorance cause us to fail to know our Messiah. Indeed, it is that knowledge that we must convey to our people. It is not a theology called Messianic Judaism that will free imprisoned Jews, but an introduction to our Leader, the King of Kings.
Yeshua shows us the way to life because He is Life. He gives us bread because He is the Bread. He is the Living Water.
If we seek Him, and know Him, we will reflect Him, and in so doing, reflect God.
If we will meditate on who Yeshua is, and love Him and proclaim Him, sing to Him, and of Him, Yeshua the Messiah, we will draw all Jews to Him.
If we worship Him, He will reveal the Father. The God of Israel will be glorified, and the Lord will rise upon us.
We want to thank those of you who are our co-workers in prayer and financial partnership for allowing us to work along side you,
For the Hope of Israel,
Art & Shira Sorko- Ram