In answering this question, it’s appropriate to first point out that, while some Christians view the Old Testament as obsolete and irrelevant to their faith in Jesus, it is still the Word of God – and Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for us. In addition, the New Testament’s account of Messiah’s coming, teachings, redemptive work, and future return rest essentially on the foundation God laid in the Old Testament.
Without embracing the Old Testament as relevant Scripture, we can fail to see the marvel of God’s redemptive plan laid out with great intention from Genesis to Revelation. For example, the resurrected Yeshua (Jesus) walked the road to Emmaus with two unaware followers and, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Chapters 4–8 of Hebrews compare – with amazing detail – the atoning work of Jesus and the High Priest’s duties on the annual Jewish Feast of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In fact, each of the Jewish Feasts contains a prophetic picture of the Messiah.
Getting more directly back to the question, yes, Gentiles are welcome in Messianic Jewish congregations and to participate in its celebrations and expressions of faith, including the biblical Feasts. In His covenantal relationship with Israel, God commanded the Jewish people to observe the Feasts throughout their generations. Whereas Jewish people are biblically obligated to keep them, Gentiles are welcomed to do so as meaningful acts of worship and fellowship with the Lord.
It’s important to note that observing the Jewish Feasts as a Gentile is “not a matter of obedience or righteousness before God,” said Ezra Benjamin, Vice President of Global Affairs at Jewish Voice. “Our righteous standing before Him, Jew or Gentile alike, is based on our faith in the righteous sacrifice of our Savior, our Messiah Jesus.” He adds, “It’s an invitation but not an obligation. It’s an issue of identification in standing with the Jewish people in how you worship God.”
Yes, there is a place for Gentile Believers in Messianic Judaism. They are invited to worship the Lord alongside Jewish Believers in identifiably Jewish ways. Many Gentile Believers experience significant enrichment of faith and a deeper understanding of the Bible in doing so. Still, Scripture does not require Gentiles to observe the Jewish Feasts or Jewish expressions of worship.
For more on this subject, please tune in to the following episodes of the A Jew and A Gentile Discuss podcast, with Ezra and his co-host Carly Berna, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Jewish Voice.
EP03 | The Difference Between Messianic Judaism and Christianity
EP20 | The Difference Between a Messianic Congregation and a Church
EP29 | Jewish Customs Uncovered – Your Questions Answered
EP45 | Gentile Christians – Where Do They Fit in Messianic Judaism? with special guest Travis Snow
EP47 | The Difference Between Jewish and Christian Worship
EP48 | Who’s More Important, Jews or Gentiles?