What is Messianic Judaism?

Messianic Judaism, also known as Hebrew Christianity, is a movement within Judaism where Jews believe in Jesus of the New Testament and consider Him the Messiah who was prophesied in the Old Testament. 

  • The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2).
  • The Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
  • The Messiah would be God in flesh (Isaiah 9:6; Zech. 12:10).
  • The Messiah will be borne to the house of David (Jeremiah 23: 5-6).
  • The Messiah would be killed for the sins of Israel ( Isaiah 53:1-10).
  • The Messiah would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10).

Messianic Jews believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.  However, some who claim to be Messianics deny that Jesus is God in flesh.  These are not true Messianics in the biblical sense, since they are denying who Jesus really is (John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8).

Messianic Jews also retain most of the Old Testament Jewish practices as described in the Old Testament (i.e. Saturday Sabbath, circumcision, kosher laws, holy days, rabbis, etc.) because they desire to hold onto their Jewish roots and honor God according to what is revealed in the Old Testament.  Where Jesus practiced the Old Testament Law (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 4:4), Messianic Jews do too.  This is fine, as long as their keeping of the Old Testament laws are not a means by which salvation is attained or maintained.

Messianics usually refer to Jesus by the Jewish name of "Yeshua," which means "salvation."  But, generally, Messianic Jews do not believe in abandoning their Jewish heritage and joining Christian churches and worshipping on Sunday - though some do.  They believe it is the most Jewish thing to follow Yeshua in a manner consistent with their heritage and attend synagogues on Saturday.

There are many variations within the movement of Messianic Judaism.  Some are within Christian orthodoxy, and some are not.  There are approximately 100,000 Messianic Jews in America alone, with more and more coming to believe in Yeshua the Messiah in other nations.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.