By Myriam Levy-Chernoff
President of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Mexico as well as the Vice President of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance
Over the last 5 years of my life, and also as Vice-President of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance, I have contact with leaders of the other national alliances around the world. G-d has also given me a great opportunity to fellowship with Messianic Jews from different parts of the world, and as a result I have come to a series of important perceptions about the Messianic movement that I believe are important to share with you.
My analysis will come from three perspectives:
- MESSIANIC JEWS
- GENTILES IN MESSIANIC JUDAISM
First of all, we must not lose sight of the fact that Messianic Judaism is not something new (we have 2000 years of existence, and we have a fascinating and miraculous history) and that it has a foundational prophetic call for the spiritual restoration of our people, Israel.
With a few exceptions, it has generally surprised me how many of our leaders today have put aside our Messianic Jewish calling. It appears that the world and its comforts have separated them from the divine prophetic vision. As already mentioned, I am surprised to see that most of the leadership is not focused on doing the job that Messianic Judaism has as its main calling which is summarized in the below verse from the book of Matthew:
“To these twelve YESHUA sent, and gave them instructions, saying: Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter the city of the Samaritans, BUT GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10: 5-7)
These are some of the areas that I urgently believe need to be analyzed and rectified by some in leadership. We are wasting a lot of time, which is irrecoverable, since the eternity of souls is at stake:
Lack of strategies to reach the Jewish community; to share and help them find the Messiah (Yeshua) in the Bible.
- Leadership is very distracted doing other things that are not a priority. For example: they have been focused for a long time on bringing ‘the foundations of the Jewish faith to the Gentiles’, which is absurd in a way, because they believe in the Messiah and they have the Bible. Meanwhile, every day many Jewish people in the world die without anyone telling them about the Messiah, fulfilling the divine warning: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)
- The need and urgency to focus on witnessing the Messiah Yeshua to the traditional Jewish community is not heard in the Bimá (pulpits) of Messianic synagogues. There is an emphasis on “reaching the nations” but that is NOT our call, since in addition to the fact that we are very few workers, we also do not have the time. That’s what Christianity is for.
- Dance, praise and traditions have been given high priority. More balance is required. In my view there should be a greater emphasis on teaching the Scriptures and Yeshua must be more exalted in the congregations. Preach him as Messiah, as the center of our faith and gatherings.
- Pray in unity for the leaders in Messianic Judaism that G-d blesses us with renewed vision, strength, courage and provision to carry out this important task of love to which we have been called.
Today, I believe more than ever, we must be aware of the responsibility to be a Messianic Jews. It’s one thing to be comfortable and happy in being the Jew among Christians, but it’s a completely different thing to roll up your sleeves and cast the nets to reach our beloved brothers of the house of Israel, for that requires a lot of patience, love, effort, resources and work.
I was greatly surprised to see three characteristics among current Messianic Jews (with few exceptions):
- Indifference to sharing Yeshua and the biblical message to the traditional Jewish community. Talking with some, they tell me that it is very difficult to share within the mainstream Jewish community because they do not want to listen, and when I confront them asking them to give me an example, they become silent, implying that it is only a position taken because in reality they do not even attempt to testify. And one thing is very clear: There is nothing more impactful than a Jewish person sharing his faith in Yeshua to another Jewish person (and giving him the biblical reasons on which he relies).
- Let us cry out to G-d so that we will soon have the attitude of Rav Sha’ul “Brothers, certainly the longing of my heart, and my prayer to God for Israel, is for salvation” (Rom 10: 1). AMEN!
- Comfort and Lack of commitment to serve. Enough of wanting to serve in what we feel like and when we have time to spare, to careers and with bad workmanship, without our best effort.
It is time that we live our faith in a less comfortable way, that we really make an effort, putting as a priority to serve Adonai in a committed, consistent and excellent fashion.Only then will we be able to impact our people with the love of Yeshua.
GENTILES IN MESSIANIC JUDAISM
The more time passes, something has become very clear to me and that is that not all Gentiles are called to be part of Messianic Judaism. Yes, it requires a call from God as with the example of Ruth, the Moabitess. It is necessary to have a sincere love for the Jewish people that is a love that goes beyond a Gentile saying that they ‘love the Jewish people.’ The reality is that many are attracted to and love Jewish THINGS AND TRADITIONS but not necessarily us as a people: the shofar, the Hebrew language, the dance, touching the Torah when it is carried around the synagogue, the mezuzah, putting on the tallit, the tefilin, the traditional Hebrew prayers, etc. The worst-case scenario is that many have an enthusiastic even desperate desire to be Jews physically and so proceed to imagine or invent Jewish lineages. I believe this desire is unfortunate because the reality is that one should not pursue a lineage when you do not have it. This overlooks the fact that G-d loves them just as He created them.
The most important thing to aspire to is to bear fruit for the Messiah in Messianic Judaism. To work and serve humbly in a way that is fruitful and brings honor to God should be one’s objective. The few Gentiles who have the call, serve with love, with discretion and are very fruitful in our midst. They are a blessing. Unfortunately, the ‘Orpahs'(1)See the book of Ruth. After the death of her husband, Orpah and her sister-in-law Ruth wished to go to Judea with Naomi. However, Naomi tried to persuade both Ruth and Orpah to return to their people and to their gods. Ruth chose to remain with Naomi, however, Orpah chose to return to her people and her gods. abound and the ‘Ruths’ are scarce.
At the writing of this article, we are experiencing a global crisis due to the coronavirus. It seems to me that, like the attacks of Sep 11-2001, it is marking a watershed moment, a before and after. I believe that from now on things will not be the same. For this reason, I consider that we too must change and be wiser with our time and resources. We need to be willing to obey the divine call and bring the light of the Messiah to our Jewish brothers and sisters. Let’s be like Queen Esther, who risked everything for the love of our people. Esther’s courage was her true crown! Let’s not be silent, let’s risk everything for the salvation of our Jewish people and the glory of the Messiah Yeshua.
“Because if you keep quiet at this time, respite and liberation will come from somewhere else for the Jews …” (Esther 4:14).
|↑1||See the book of Ruth. After the death of her husband, Orpah and her sister-in-law Ruth wished to go to Judea with Naomi. However, Naomi tried to persuade both Ruth and Orpah to return to their people and to their gods. Ruth chose to remain with Naomi, however, Orpah chose to return to her people and her gods.|