Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ancient Evidence of Messianic Jewish Beliefs


While doing some research I found some early quotes from Early Christian Leaders on Messianic Jews and thought I would share them.

Jerome (4th Cent CE.) - "...who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law." (Jerome; o­n. Is. 8:14).

Epiphanius (4th Cent CE.) - "But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not o­nly the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one that his son is Y'shua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, o­nly in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.
(Epiphanius; Panarion 29)

Note some key points:
1. As late as the 4th century (and even later), Messianic Judaism was a valid form of belief. This dispels the idea that the Messianic movement is just a creation of the church to "trick" Jews.
2. Observance of the Torah (here called entire Law).
3. Attitude of Epiphanius towards Torah - He says fettered by the Law. The anti-Torah bias of the Church is that old.

As we can see, Messianic Judaism has existed from the beginning, and is clearly being practiced in the 4th century, as these writings show. While Messianic Jews will be persacuted by the Church, and by other Jews, for the next 1600 years, we now see G-d's plan unfolding with the reemergance of the Movement. No longer in hiding, but growing, Like Yochanan "one crying in the Wilderness...Make the way straight" for the L-rd is coming.


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