Tallit, shofar, and Torah

“Jews don’t believe in Jesus.”

Answer: “That is a serious misconception as well as a gross overstatement. Jews have always believed in Jesus. In fact, in the beginning, it was only Jews who believed in him, and today, there are probably more Jewish believers in Jesus than ever before.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, p. 3.)

“I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew!”

Answer: “You’re absolutely right! You were born a Jew, and whether you believe in Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Sigmund Freud, or Rev. Moon, you’ll always be a Jew. The question is, Will you be a faithful Jew in God’s sight? That’s what really matters. You must never forget that as a Jew you have a special calling and responsibility. Will you fulfill the purpose for which God made you? Being a Jew is no small thing. Will you live and die in right relationship with God? Will you love Him with all your heart and soul and strength? And if what we’re telling you about Jesus being the Jewish Messiah is really true (and we’re quite sure it is), will you be a faithful Jew who follows your Messiah or an unfaithful Jew who rejects him?” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 3-6.)

“A person is either Jewish or Christian. I’m Jewish.”

Answer: “You’re mixing apples with oranges. People are born Jewish or Gentile, but in order to become a Christian (or, Messianic) you must be born anew. This new birth comes through putting your faith in Jesus the Messiah. Your sins are forgiven, you receive a new heart, and you become a follower of the Messiah. That’s what it means to be Christian or Messianic. But no one is born Christian. That’s where the misconception lies. Nor is Christianity (or Messianic Judaism) merely another religion. Rather, it speaks of a living relationship between God and His people both Jews and Gentiles through the Messiah. Through physical birth you are either Jew or Gentile; through spiritual birth you become a follower of Jesus the Messiah.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 6-7.)

“Doesn’t belief in Jesus mean that you’re no longer Jewish? As I understand it, belief in Jesus and Jewishness in any form are incompatible.”

Answer: “You have unknowingly repeated one of the great lies of the Inquisition, namely, that one can be faithful to Jesus only by totally repudiating one’s Jewishness. To the contrary, everything about belief in Jesus was and is Jewish, in the purest and most biblical sense of the word.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 7-9.)

“The Messianic Judaism, or Hebrew Christianity thing is just one big deception, designed to lure unsuspecting Jews into Christianity. Half of the people involved aren’t even Jewish. Those that are Jewish were mostly Christian ministers who changed their names to sound more authentic.”

Answer: “Maybe your bad experience with a Messianic Jew has given you a wrong impression of the whole. Is it possible that you have misjudged our hearts and motives without knowing the facts? Most Jews who have come to know Jesus as Messiah have experienced a deep reawakening of their Jewishness. Many have recovered aspects of the biblical Jewish lifestyle, while others have made aliyah (i.e., emigrated to Israel) for life. In fact, their children now attend Israeli schools and fight in the Israeli army. It is because these people have so deeply recovered their Jewishness that some of them have changed their names e.g., from Martin to Moishe. Others changed their names so as to refute the lie of past ‘Christian’ anti-Semitism which said, ‘You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus.’ As for the Gentile Believers who have joined Messianic Jewish Congregations, they have done so out of love for Israel and Jewish life. Is this wrong?” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 9-15.)

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“You have your religion and I have mine. Jesus is for the Gentiles, and if he helps them, great. In fact, Judaism teaches that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come. But for us, the Jewish People, we have the Torah. That is our portion.”

Answer: “What an insult to the Gentiles! If Jesus did not fulfill biblical prophecy, if He is not the promised Messiah of Israel, if He was not born of a virgin, if He did not die for the sins of the world and rise from the dead, if He is not coming back as King of all kings to rule and reign here forever then He is the Messiah and Savior of nobody. He is a false prophet and the writers of the New Testament were either deceivers or deceived. But if he did do all these things, then he is the Messiah and Savior of everyone both Jew and Gentile. As for the Torah, it remains our portion, but it is only through the Messiah that we can truly interpret it and live it out.”(See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 15-18.)

“The fundamental problem with Christianity is that it is not Judaism. Therefore all your so-called ‘proofs’ from the Hebrew Scriptures are meaningless. They are simply your interpretation, not ours.”

Answer: “Is it possible that it is you who are not getting the point? Who says that Judaism is the faith that is in harmony with the Hebrew Scriptures? Who says that ‘Christianity’ (or, ‘Messianic Judaism’) is not for Jews? Who says that ‘your’ interpretation is right? If Jesus is indeed the successor of Moses and the prophets, the Messiah spoken of in our Hebrew Scriptures, then the faith that acknowledges him is the proper faith for those who claim to adhere to those Scriptures. It’s that simple. Of course, much that has been called ‘Christianity’ through the years has hardly been either Christian or biblical let alone Jewish. But there is an authentic ‘Christianity’ that is thoroughly biblical and I kid you not amazingly ‘Jewish.’ It is the right faith meaning ‘right’ in the sight of God for you and for every Jew without exception.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 18-20.)

“If Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, why don’t more Jews believe in Him?”

Answer: “Actually, there are multiplied tens of thousands of Jews who have believed and do believe in Him. The problem is that most Jews have not bothered to check into the facts about Jesus, and the only ‘Jesus’ most of them know is either the baby Jesus of Christmas, an emaciated figure hanging on a cross in churches, or the Jesus of the Crusades and Inquisitions. The question is: Why don’t you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Do you really know who He is?” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 21-24.)

“I won’t betray my ancestors! I won’t forsake the faith of my fathers!”

Answer: “That is a noble sentiment and God appreciates the fact that you honor the memory of your forefathers. But the Torah is very clear: When we have to choose between loyalty to our families and loyalty to God, we must choose to be loyal to Him no matter what the consequences. If we really love our family and our heritage, then the noblest thing we can possibly do is be faithful to God and His Messiah at any cost. In the end, we will be the shining lights in our family history. And when you say, ‘I can’t forsake the faith of my fathers,’ I remind you: Abraham did!” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 24-28.)

“What happens to Jews who do not believe in Jesus especially those who never heard about Him? What happened to my wonderful Jewish grandmother who never hurt anyone her entire life? Is she in Hell?”

Answer: “These are not questions to be answered lightly, as if Heaven and Hell were mere figures of speech. And, to be perfectly frank, we’re not just talking about your grandmother. We’re talking about my grandmother too! Still, the bottom line is this: While I don’t know your grandmother and I am certainly not her judge, I do know that countless millions of Jews and Gentiles have lived lives that have displeased God (and this includes at least some of our grandmothers), countless millions of people have condemned their souls through their words and deeds, and countless millions of people will be pronounced guilty on Judgment Day. It wouldn’t be fair to you if I failed to warn you in advance. Of course, I will be the first to say that the New Testament does not explicitly address the issue of what happens to those who never heard the message of forgiveness of sins through Jesus. But of this much we can be sure: God is both a compassionate and righteous Judge, there are consequences to breaking His commandments, His standards are high, and if we reject His ordained means of atonement, we are in trouble.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 1, pp. 28-35.)

This material is reprinted with permission. Adapted from Dr. Michael L. Brown’s book series Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.

Get the "A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth" Book

With warmth and transparency, Jewish Voice’s own Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis shares a compelling case for Jesus as Messiah and presents overwhelming evidence that can be traced to the Torah itself. 

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