Messianic Judaism is a religious movement of either Judaism or Christianity whose adherents believe that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they call Yeshua, is both the resurrected Jewish Messiah and their Divine Savior like the Christians. Although, it is one of the only prodominantly Christian belief that it shares together, in some cases, with the theory of the Holy Trinity.
As of 1993 there were 160,000 adherents of Messianic Judaism in the United States and 350,000 worldwide. As of 2003, there were at least 150 Messianic synagogues in the U.S. and over 400 worldwide. The number of Messianic Jews in Israel is 15,000 members.
Messianic Jews consider themselves to be Jewish. However, Jews of most denominations do not consider Messianic Judaism to be a form of Judaism and instead they consider it to be a form of Christianity. "Jews for Jesus" is considered by many to be an oxymoronic term and a way for Christians to proselytize "under cover". Many Christians consider Messianic Judaism to be a form of Christianity, as well.
Jewish theology rejects the idea that the messiah (or any other person) is a divinity, and such an idea has often been regarded as idolatrous. Nor does Judaism view the role of the messiah to be the salvation of the world from its sins (an idea widely accepted by Christians and messianic Jews). Judaism does not accept Jesus as the biblical messiah, nor does it assign him any religious role at all.
The Supreme Court of Israel has determined that "Messianic Jews" are not Jews or eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.
As a Jewish Denomination
- Messianic Judaism is culturally Jewish. They read from the Torah, have synagogues, have dietary laws, etc.
- Christianity describes the belief of Christ being the Messiah. Christ comes from the Greek word for savior showing Pre-Christian Judaism which held Jesus/Yeshua as the Messiah's altering by the Greek's and creating Christianity. Messianic Judaism is a lot like a revival of that form of Judaism and, therefor, has no connection to the Greeks.
- Christians believe in replacement theology, or the belief that G-d replaced Israel and the Jews with the Christian Church and the Christians. Messianics do not believe this and still believe Israel to have maintained its importance. Therefore, Messianics also believe Jews to be G-d's chosen people making it so that if they aren't Jews, then they're not G-d's people. Seeing as most religion and religious denominations believe themselves to be the one correct religion, they all believe themselves to be the people of G-d himself or their deities. It doesn't make sense to say that they, whom believe themselves correct, are going to believe a different group to be G-d's chosen people. That's like saying they know they're right but they know they're wrong. By this argument, they're not Christians but Jews.
- Originally this paragraph had several errors, including the statement that all religions consider themselves to be the "one correct religion". This is not true. Some religions acknowledge the truth of other religions, so it is possible to believe others are right without believing you're wrong.
- They keep to the covenant between G-d and Abraham
- Self definition, they say they are Jews while not being too far off from it, so they are Jewish.
- One difference that doesn't affect nearly every part of a religion, doesn't make for a new religion. Christianity wasn't its own religion originally. Originally, Christianity was a form of Judaism because there was only that/those one/two difference(s) making only for a separate denomination. Not until the Greeks changed it and made the non-Jewish Christianity was Christianity a separate religion. We think not of that ancient Jewish-Christianity when we define Messianic Judaism and only of the post-Greek influenced Christianity making for Messianic Judaism being considered Christianity. But if we think the original Christianity was, completely and absolutely Jewish in every way, whether if it was Jesus/Yeshua-following or not, it helps us realize how Messianic Judaism could be Judaism.
As a Christian denomination
- The acceptance of Jesus as the messiah or a divine savior is a central tenant of Christianity.
- Messianic Judaism on the Religion wikia (which also used some content from Wikipedia)