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Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

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Question:

I was accosted at the beach today by a guy from Jews for Jesus. He offered me a New Testament in Yiddish and said that many Jews have been "saved" by accepting Jesus as the messiah. I just ignored him. Then I saw a big ad in the newspaper from the same people. My question: Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Answer:

Of course a Jew can believe in Jesus. Just like a vegetarian can enjoy a rump steak, a peace activist can join a violent demonstration, and a dictator who preaches martyrdom can surrender himself to his enemies. As long as logic and clear thinking are suspended, anything makes sense!

I think your response to that missionary was the best one - to ignore him. Missionising is not a new phenomenon. Certain Christian sects believe that their messiah will only return when the Jews accept him. Throughout history Jews have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert. More recently, missionaries targeted the weak of our community - the elderly, new immigrants, and the underprivileged - in an attempt to exploit their vulnerability. All these attempts have had little or no success. Whether religious or not, Jews are reluctant to give up their Jewishness.

So they came up with a new ploy. Rather than demand conversion, they offered Jews to remain Jewish, and even "complete" their Jewishness by accepting Jesus. Thus Jews for Jesus was born.

This is a movement of non-Jews who pose as Jews by taking on Jewish names. They do usually have a token Jewish member, who is invariably either ignorant of Judaism at best or psychologically imbalanced at worst. They are a sham.

All religions are free to present their beliefs in the open market of ideas. But if they have to resort to slimy tactics like Jews for Jesus does, then they obviously have nothing to offer a thinking person.

Editor's Note: Visit Jews for Judaism for a comprehensive counter-missionary handbook.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Kristy Warshauer Wilmington May 15, 2017

Ah Aaron that was sad what you wrote . . .my heart goes out to you . . .God loves you ! Reply

Rai Toronto March 16, 2017

Very interesting. I am a Christian. Judaism is a religion that I also love & respect. It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what Jews think of Christians. Even though many had many negative things to say about us, one thing I love about being a Christian is our desire to know God in the deepest & most intimate level. May the Lord God of Israel continue to bless you all. Reply

Rain February 13, 2017

I'm not Jewish even though I have an ancestral connection to Sephardim (no need to go into details).

Judaísm makes me happy and I'm learning more.
When I first began to realize that judaísm speaks truth, like many future converts, I started learning and studying with any jew that would be nice to teach me. Mistakes where made and I encountered a synagogue that seemed Jewish. A month or two later, being in the dark, there was something that didn't feel right to me. When I realised, after asking a lot, that they where not Jewish I left, never to go back.

These are nice people, that followed their obligations like any jew would, but they believed in Jesus.
It wasn't openly mentioned and I was crushed. The minister (Rabbi to them) should put this out in the open.
Some local Jews respect him and even thought he was Jewish. When I mentioned their belief in Jesus they where as surprised as I was.
Be very careful Jewish and seeker; just because it's sweet it doesn't mean it's honey. Reply

KarenJoyceChayaFradleKleinmanBell Riverside, CA USA November 24, 2016

I was in a Christian Cult. Here is what I learned: I learned negative and positive things: Negative first: Their arguments are not logical and not according to the Holy Scriptures, although they like to say it comes directly from our verses. Also, if you disagree, they say you have demons in you. You also are not to question unless you accept their slant on things. It is a mostly non thinking group, and more of a following group. You believe by "faith" without questioning. They also teach you to convert others and say you will get more stars in your crown in heaven if you do. Extra stars for converting a Jew. Positive: For people who are in desperation, about to commit suicide or deeply into drugs or other anti social emotional state, Christianity offers a quick fix by teaching that by belief, you are born again,, a new creature and all things in your past are wiped away. It works in many cases. For those for whom it works, that is a good thing. Then, once they have this holy type attitude, then they can start thinking again. Reply

Ismael Thompson Canada November 24, 2016

What about the teachings of Spiritism? Reply

Devorah - on UTube and Twitter January 24, 2016

Anon UK - Christianity is moving towards accepting Judaism - Is that true? Hello Anon,
You say Christianity & Judaism are moving towards a more mature & accepting relationship. I question this.

Regarding the Catholic Church & the sleeping high church Christianity I would agree things have & are improving. However, as regards Evangelical Christianity, the Evangelical Christian is still determined to convert the Jew.
As is too the growing Messianic Jew movement & J4J which receives millions of dollars from churches is also seeking to convert Jews to Christianity & its sister called Messianic Judaism, which is Christianity with shmalz.

While Evangelical Christians continue to persist & insist that Jesus is the Messiah & you must believe in him then it is very hard to 'find common ground' as you put it.
Common ground is more about focusing on our common humanitarian needs. But even here the evangelical Xn takes advantage of desperate Jews trying to flee persecution. They offer them safe passage to Israel but seek to convert them in the process. Reply

Devorah - on UTube and Twitter January 24, 2016

Anon UK - Judeo - Christian Traditon Hello Anon,
This phrase the 'Judeo-Christian Tradition was invented by Christian theologians to try and make their beliefs more respectable. It was Christianity that chose to attach its New Testament to our Scriptures. Not the other way round.

You say that Jesus teachings are consistent with Rabbinic Teachings. Yes some of the innocuous stories were. Every religion has stories we can learn from.

However, if you accept that telling people that people must believe in you in order to have access to G-D then that in Judaism is an unacceptable teaching.

The words of Jesus in the Gospels such as "I and the Father are One", "He that hath seen me hath seen the father", "I am the way the truth the life no-one comes to the father but by me" then that too is an unacceptable teaching and has no place in Judaism.

As Jesus is not G-D or the Son of G-D according to Judaism. G-D does take flesh/kill himself then it is not unreasonable to question the mental state of a person who says such things. Reply

Anonymous Leeds January 24, 2016

Hello uk annon. Jesus displayed no signs of narcissism or grandiosity? This is a man that is stated as saying in the gospels "I am the way the truth the life. No-one comes to the father but by me! What is not narcissistic or grandiose about that! Reply

Anonymous UK January 18, 2016

Was Jesus psychotic?
No.
If we accept the gospels as a record of his ministry, what he said was consistent and logical throughout, and clearly routed in the Jewish tradition. Similar teachings exist in Rabbinical Judaism - hence we can talk about the "Judeo-Christian" tradition. He also displayed no traits of narcissism or grandiosity - more the opposite.

There is no need to stigmatise either the mentally ill or (by implication) Christians as being mentally ill in this discussion.

Judaism and Christianity are moving towards a more mature and accepting relationship. I believe the assertion of some Christians that Jews must accept Jesus is wrong - nobody can judge the relationship of a person or entire people with G-d.

I also, however, believe the constant demonisation of Jesus and Christians is equally wrong. It's unhelpful. We have to share this earth and it is clear we'e not giving up our respective beliefs, so a search for common ground is better. Reply

Devorah - on UTube and Twitter January 14, 2016

Jim D Hello Jim

I apologize if my remark'They R believing a lie like the psychotic Jew' within the context of my comment gave the impression that I think Messianic Jews are psychotic. No of course they are not!
I was one of them and I was not psychotic. Maybe slightly deluded because of what I believed which I see as none sensicle. How could I have believed such none sense? But I did!

You are quite right in everything you say re definition of psychosis. What I was trying to do was make an a corresponding analogy but it was not clear enough! Sorry.
A more interesting question is whether JC was suffering from some type of psychosis considering statements he is supposed to have made?
Ideas of grandeur, thinking himself equal to G-D suggests some psychosis does it not?

Thank you for reminding me not to worsen my health by doing too much.
G-D Bless
Reply

Jim D. Los Angeles January 13, 2016

Response to Devorah Devorah,

I'm happy you are channeling your insights in the direction of helping other Jewish believers in Jesus. I encourage you in your efforts, but please take care of your health so that your work does not worsen it.

I would like to make one observation. While I agree that the entire concept that Jesus was the Messiah and/or god is untrue, I would not characterize such belief as psychotic. It doesn't involve thought disorders or hallucinations, there's no break with day to day reality. If anything, it might be akin to mass delusion, but it certainly isn't a mental illness. Jews learn about Jesus like we learn history through standard textbooks in school -- none of us were there when the events happened, but we take the information as being true and we have a collective belief about it. Although later we may find upon more sophisticated study that what we learned was incorrect, but that did not make us psychotic for believing it. Reply

Devorah - on UTube and Twitter January 12, 2016

You can worship a cucumber & still be a Jew - The Q is should you be worshiping a cucumber? Great article!

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?
Yes.
In the same way a Jew can believe in a picked dill cucumber or believe he is Napoleon you can believe in Jesus!

The question is should a Jew be doing this?

No! Nyet!

In the same way the Jews in the desert were still Jews in G-D's eyes whilst worshiping the golden calf, so a JFJ is still a Jew BUT a misbehaving one. One who has strayed into idolatry.

Our duty is to bring back Jews from idolatry.

I trained as a psychiatric nurse. When a person is psychotic they can believe they are anything. Jesus, G-D,President of US, all manner of things & people.

If that person is Jewish & holds these beliefs we as Jews demonstrate compassion. We can see and understand from conversing with a psychiatrist that the person is mentally ill.

If we still regard this psychotic Jew as a Jew despite the fact he is telling you the cucumber in the jar is G-D

Messianic Jews have been deceived. They R believing a lie like the psychotic Jew. Reply

Devorah - on UTube and Twitter January 12, 2016

Jim D, Los Angeles Hi Jim
Regarding your statement "I know there are some within orthodoxy who will not understand your history or transformation, and may silently judge you still. You will see it in their expressions"

I would like to remind you that anyone who judges me for my previous idolatrous faith & still hold it against me when I have renounced this idolatrous faith should consider the passage in Torah concerning our people building a golden calf and worshiping it whilst Moses was up Mount Sinai.

The sages teach us that as far as G-D was concerned those people were still Jews whilst worshiping the golden calf, but they were not behaving as a Jew should behave.

G-D expected these people after Moses had told them off to stop worshiping the golden calf, repent,& worship only
Him in future.

This is what I am doing!

Judaism believes G-D is faithful to His people

It says somewhere in the Tenach 'Mercy triumphs over judgement'.

When we repent G-D forgives. G-D does not bear a grudge. Reply

Devorah January 12, 2016

Jim D, Los Angeles Hello Jim
I totally agree with your statement "So you can turn your embarrassment and shame into spiritual growth, blessings and pride if you turn to help other messianic Jews realize the truth. You are uniquely able to do that. With every young Jew you save, you also save their future children and, thus, generations to come".

I totally agree with your sentiments. I am in fact doing this. I am doing everything possible despite severe ill health to try and educate Jewish people about the deception of Messianic Judaism/Christianity through writing in the Jewish press and online videos. See Devorah on UTube and Twitter.

I know some might be might be skeptical of my changed position. But let me tell you this. I would gladly burn the New Testament in front of any Rabbi who asked me to. Reply

Jim D. Los Angeles December 15, 2015

Reply to Anonymous UK Anonymous -- mazel tov! I am amazed and moved by your report! Allow me, if I may, to give you a warm welcome back. Perhaps I can only just begin to understand the shame you feel, and it is to be expected. Whether for 42 days or 42 years, how could a Jew who wholeheartedly worshiped Jesus and then returned not feel some shame? I know there are some within orthodoxy who will not understand your history or transformation, and may silently judge you still. You will see it in their expressions. But that is because they do not really understand Christianity, messianism (because you were "missionized"), and what you have experienced. Jews who are drawn to Jesus worship are in fact among the most spiritual among us. So you can turn your embarrassment and shame into spiritual growth, blessings and pride if you turn to help other messianic Jews realize the truth. You are uniquely able to do that. With every young Jew you save, you also save their future children and, thus, generations to come. Reply

Anonymous UK December 10, 2015

I was a Jewish believer in Jesus for 42 years. I came to the conclusion that Jesus could not be the Messiah after listening to the talks of Rabbi Scobac on Jews for Judaism, talks on Chabad tv, talks by Rabbi Tovia Singer, lectures by professors on the messiah at universitys', reading the hebrew scriptures in context. Listening to Rabbi Stuart Federow and reading his plain speaking, say it as it is book on the differences between Christianity and Judaism To cut to the chase after months of study and thought I renounced this belief that Jesus was the Messiah just two days before Yom Kippur.

I am ashamed & embarressed that I held this belief. If you had met me at age 18 you would never have believed that I would last in this belief for a year never mind 42 years. I wasen't the sort of person that stuck at anything very long.

My late father did send me to see our orthodox Rabbi but he made no effort to deter me from this belief. Jews need to be educated why Jesus is not the Messiah. Reply

Jorge Qro. Mexico August 15, 2015

We all fit in this world: stay together but not scrambled. Christians are widely accepted in our western world with a missionary reputation all over the world. Christians started more than two thousand years ago as a community and since then have been successful in solving the spiritual problems of many people. However, some of us despite having been born into Christian families, Christianism hasn't solved our spiritual problems: causes, there is a wide spectrum, and so we appeal to sites like Chabad to get some water for our thirsty souls. Reply

Anonymous UK August 12, 2015

To Uri Uri - this is a thread about Jewish-Christian relations and the role of Christian proselytes in defining that. The article expressed an opinion and inevitably provokes debate. Of course Christians and Jews should interact in the comment section - this is the beauty of the internet and an example of why, right now, it is our best tool in the fight against intolerant prejudices.

You have already asked if I am a "missionary".

No, I am not a missionary.

You wouldn't know I was a Christian if you met me, unless you directly asked.

And why should Christians not be interested in Judaism or Jewish websites? Our religion is built on an edifice of Jewish philosophy and was invented by Jews. It's totally natural to investigate where this comes from and some of the more philosophical articles here are very thought provoking.

I only comment on this article because I think as a Christian I can add to it. Reply

Jim D. Los Angeles August 11, 2015

Why Discuss Christianity Uri -- What we can learn from Christians is that they have a genuine desire to be right with G-d. Most Jews couldn't care less. But often, approached with a compelling "spiritual" message, they can be intrigued and follow along. That is why we have lost hundreds of thousands to Christianity. The Christian is trying to share what they believe to be truth, and the Jewish follower, not knowing any better, is convinced as well. Jews happening upon this web site should be aware of the issues, and this is a good forum for that.

The structure of services was developed decades ago when more Jews felt connected. But now they're alienated, and Rabbis need to re-invent the synagogue experience accordingly. Secondly, Jews don't know Hebrew -- but that's unlikely to change. So at least they should study Tanakh using a good Jewish translation. And understand that the Gospels are largely fictional, and when one scratches the surface, one finds a truly contradictory, baseless theology. Reply

Anonymous Uk August 11, 2015

Jim D about 40% of Germans are still Catholic. People are complex. Luther started out defending the Jews but turned against them when they didn't join his war on catholicism and become 'protestant' Jews. The puritan protestant Oliver Cromwell was an early zionist who readmitted Jews to England (from where Edward II expelled them in 12th century) on the one hand while on the other his conquest of Ireland killed maybe 200,000 people, banned Christmas and burned catholics at the stake like logs. If Luther hadn't been such a massive zealot he would never have risked his life fighting the Catholic Church and maybe we wouldn't have freedom of religion. It's this complexity which is the reason people should not be typecast. We are all a mix of good and bad. Religion serves to bring out the best in us by bringing us closer to G-d over time, but it is never simple. G-d is reality and reality is complex. Reply

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