A Messianic Jew is a more modern thing, where Jews give in to Jesus as the Messiah, first saying they accept that, but eventually showing that they deny this very thing. They work with and within Christian groups, often selling great evangelism programs for winning Jews to Christ, but in actuality, they are convincing and dominating these Christians to come in under the Old Testament law.
Hebrew Roots Movement
Under this concept and keyword, these Jews are implying that because all New Testament Jewish characters actually “had their roots” in OT Judaism, therefore we should convert and follow this OT Judaism. The fact that Jesus broke with the OT Jewish Pharisees seems to completely pass over their heads.
Here it is very important to understand how the Old Testament Jews perverted the truth of God given to them. While there is no confusion as to what the 10 Commandments and other commandments God gave to the children of Israel, they began exalting their teachers and interpreters of the law, and eventually gave them a quasi-legal, quasi-inspired status. Once that was accomplished, they used these commentaries (called Targums) by the Rabbis and Pharisees to change the obvious understanding of Scripture. So the handed-down traditions of these people become a final say in the interpretation of Scripture, and sometimes the conclusion did not agree with the obvious meaning of that Scripture it sought to interpret.
This same mindset is what the Catholic church fell into, and it is the same as what these modern Messianic Jews use. In the end, is the final determination of what God has said what these people say it is? or is it to be taken from each individual as they read in faith and understand the obvious meaning of Scripture? They would insert themselves as the only faithful interpreters of Scripture and push you and me out of the picture.
In the process of their work, they want to throw doubt and shadow on the canon of Scripture, because if they had their way, we would only use the Old Testament Scriptures. If the New Testament is also inspired, and it interprets and puts the OT in the proper perspective for us today as Christians, why do they belittle it so much? Why do they always prefer going back to the Old Testament rather than seeking orientation and information in the New?
About the New Testament
The Hebrew Roots Movement and the Sacred Name Movements both lay the foundation that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew and that later it was translated into Greek by Hellenistic Jews and in the process corrupted the text. They thus have a “divine duty” to “restore the text”. But note that while they do a tremendous job of changing the New Testament text in so many places, they never really come to grips with the essential teachings of the New Testament Scripture. The centrality of Jesus as the Christ-Messiah, and the doing away with the Old Testament system instituting a new system, the Church is never captured by them.
But in throwing doubt on the canon of Scripture, they are despising the New Testament. These movements are like other modern cults (Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) in “needing” to create their own version of Scripture to change places where they do not agree with the text as it is.
Some common sense points
First of all, is there any such thing as an obeying NT Jew? No. Why do I say that? Because the one condition for a Jew today to comply with the Old Testament laws and requirements is that there has to be a temple in Jerusalem. Note that the Jews of the Old Testament made temples in other places (exile) but mainstream Judaism never accepted those as legitimate. So since there is no legitimate temple, there is no place for a Jew to perform his legitimate animal sacrifices as required by the Old Testament of all males and generally for the Israeli nation. This is the fundamental activity for all Jews if they are to obey the Old Testament. The pride of Jews (unsaved Jews) is that they keep the law. So it is impossible for them to keep the law without the temple.
Does keeping the Old Testament law save a person? Absolutely not. Paul attack on this point is very clear in Romans, and other places in the Bible also repeat the same thing. Nobody is saved by keeping the law.
Is a Jew saved by some other way than what Gentiles (and everybody) are saved? No. The bottom line is that a Jew has to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. He must admit that Jesus is the Saviour, or he is not saved. The “workaround” that so many people in error try in this is that to first ignore Jesus, and then return to the unknown Old Testament “promised Messiah”. He has come, he has died, and he has risen. If you do not accept Jesus you are not saved.
Should NT Christians or Christians who are pro-Israel follow the Old Testament law? This is a tricky question, and we should first of all recognize that the Old Testament has commandments which are the nation of Israel specific, and other more general statements of morality that are timeless. Modern people should not feel obliged by nation-specific laws. We do not celebrate Lord-Jehovah’s day on Saturday. The New Testament Christians gathered on Sunday in honor of the resurrection of the Messiah. If you choose to worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, then that means that in some form you despise Jesus as the fulfillment of the Messiah.
Complete Jewish Bible
Please see my comments on my post at Complete Jewish Bible CBJ.