Messianic Jewish Identification with the Body of Believers
| Dr Daniel Juster, Director |

Nothing is more common among us than the call for Jewish believers to identify with their people and the Jewish State of Israel. This is crucially important. However, it is also very important for Messianic Jews to identify with the larger Body of the Messiah. There are reasons why Messianic Jews struggle over this, but these reasons must not be allowed to prevent this important identification. Why? Because this identification is crucial for the salvation of Israel and the nations.

Why is it a Struggle to so Identify ?

There are many reasons. Here are a few. One is the false teaching about the meaning of One New Man in Ephesians 2. Some teach that this means the distinctive callings of Jews and Gentiles are eliminated in Messiah. Some teach that the One New Man is to look very Jewish; others teach the opposite. Both teach a kind of homogenized One New Man. However, if we believe that God is creating the great personalities and peoples to uniquely enrich the Kingdom of God (as John Dawson in Healing America's Wounds), then homogenization is wrong. The irrevocable call of Israel continues in the New Covenant. Messianic Jews are part of it. As male and female still exist in Messiah and have distinctive callings, so the unity of Jew and Gentile is more parallel to marriage in covenant than to homogenization. Messianic Jews sometimes do not identify with the larger Body of the Messiah because they react against the false one new man teaching. They fail to see the importance of living out the true meaning of One New Man (Humanity).

Others teach that the Church is pagan and that we can not identify with it. This is a great stretch when speaking of Protestantism. Worship on Sunday and celebrating the birth of Yeshua do not constitute paganism. There are some Greek orientations that need correction; there is a need for Jewish context in understanding the Bible. However, the dismissal of the Church as pagan is simply wrong. The Church was given liberty to not follow specifically Jewish laws and has creatively developed much that is uniquely beautiful.

Others fear that identification with the Body of the Messiah will compromise their witness to Jews. However, it is better to be honest and say that we are one with all committed followers of Yeshua, while also following a unique Jewish calling. Fear of rejection is not a good motive. The power of God is the essential issue in witnessing, and being forthright about the truth is a key to this power.

Why is it so Important to thus Identify ?

An essential part of the proof that Yeshua is the Messiah is that He is bringing the nations to the knowledge of God (Gen. 49:10b; Is. 49:6). The testimony that we are one with Gentiles who follow the Messiah is a key part of our authentic witness. It is proof of His work that the separation barrier no longer affects Jew and Gentile in the Messiah (Eph. 2).

In addition, the demonstration of reconciliation releases the power of God. This has been proven again and again by John Dawson in his writings. Where believers stand in unity the power for successful witness is released. This is also the case in the unity between Jew and Gentile.

The Bible teaches that prayers, witness and deeds of kindness on the part of Gentile followers of Yeshua, will be key to our people embracing Yeshua (Romans 11:11-14). This witness is undercut when we live as if we are not one with Gentile followers of Yeshua. It is the team of Jew and Gentile together that most affects the salvation of the Jews. There the balance of the Messianic Jewish witness to continued Jewish life and calling, is joined with the power of Gentile love for the Jews. Great depth of discipleship will be needed for both Jew and Gentile to accomplish this.

It is important that we see the truth that the Body of the Messiah in the nations is the child of the Jewish nation. It was born out of the evangelistic faithfulness of Jews who took the Good News to the Gentiles. While the Church has sometimes seemed a wayward child, those congregations that truly seek to follow Yeshua are our corporate spiritual children. Continued loving relationship is a key. Some prophets have rightly seen that there is an application here of Malachi 3:24 in which the hearts of the children will be turned to the fathers and the fathers to the children.

In the Messiah both Jew and Gentile share a common faith in a divine Messiah who died and rose again. We know that salvation is procured by His atonement. We know He is coming again. We partake of the same Spirit and are called to practice the same gifts of supernatural grace.

How can we Show We are One ?

Every Messianic Jewish Congregation can show the unity of Jew and Gentile by having as members those Gentiles who have a special life calling to the Jewish people. These members are crucial to our New Covenant authenticity and will sometimes be our most effective witnesses. In addition, Churches can encourage their Jewish members to continue to live a Jewish life. Jewish oriented home groups, which integrate into the Jewish community, special services and more are possible when a Church has such a Jewish contingent. Much discipleship will be needed to see such a vision fulfilled. However, this is not sufficient.

It is crucial to see that Messianic Jewish leaders join in leadership fellowships in their region. Joint services and joining together in the activities of the Church of the City are important too. We need to not only teach our Jewish members our call to distinctive Jewish life, but to teach concerning the wonderful cultures and expressions of the Church. Messianic Jews can then appreciate the richness of the larger Body of Believers and the miracle of what God has wrought. In this the Church can appreciate its own Jewish roots and our Messianic Jewish expression.

We have a stake in the success of the whole Body of Believers. I have noticed over many years that when the Body of Believers in a region is strong and in some kind of cooperative unity, there is much greater success in sharing the Good News with Jews. There is a change in the heavenlies. The task of the salvation of Israel can not be accomplished without the whole Church. This leads to the redemption of the World.

By Daniel Juster


Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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Comments:
09:38 02Feb05 Mrs. Theresa Grindstaff -
I will be praying for the salvation of Israel and for all churches to be in uniting with the Jews so that Jesus will be glorified with His true church. Thank you for your news letter and keeping me informed of what I must do for God's children.

10:32 02Feb05 David Peters -
Thank you for this article! There is a trend in some Messianic circles to not want a relationship with the larger body of believers. It's true that we can do much more for the Kingdom together, as one. Gentiles in traditional Gentile churches and in Messianic congregations both need a sense of mission and vision for the part they can play in seeing God's Kingdom established on the earth.

11:12 02Feb05 Robert C Seibert -
I think highly of Dan Juster's work. I am a Messianic Jew, grew up in Long Island, traveled quite a bit. I've attended many different churches and messianic congregations, and most recently have run into this so-called "two-house" faction. I had never heard of such a doctrine until 2 years ago, when I moved here. I innocently joined the congregation (name withheld) thinking it was a legitimate Messianic Jewish congregation. I soon discovered there was not one Jew there, and they were teaching material based on the Wootens' teachings of the "Lost Tribes". So, I did my research about the Lost Tribe myth, Two House history, and so on... suffice it to say, I got outta there. My experience with "Two-House" people, is they are very "anti-church". I can relate to Dan Juster's article very well, in retrospect. People need to understand the proper relationship of Jew and Gentile within the greater Body of Messiah. There is so much out there going on, which seeks to destroy that relationship.

14:33 02Feb05 Robert Huffine -
I didn't quite finish reading this article, but everything I've read so far, I totally agree with. Keep up the good work, Daniel. You might not believe how much your preaching blesses me. Shalom Me'od L'Atah!

19:03 02Feb05 Pelham Gross -
May God multiply his supernatural wisdom to you and out through you to impart understanding of the TRUE revelation of the "one new man." I was clueless until "struck sensible" 2 years ago that Israel AS A NATION plays a catalytic role in God's last days plan. I'm in the middle of probably one of the most Israel-focused groups in America. Does leadership here REALLY understand what you're saying about "one new man?" I don't think so -- SO-O-O be greatly empowered to keep truth-punching us -- till we ALL get it. THANKS, DAN!

16:33 03Feb05 Maud G Lew -
Right on target once again, Dan! This is the very reason why Marty Waldman, our rabbi at Baruch HaShem, recently insisted that we avoid calling ourselves the Messianic Jewish Movement, because movements are born, decay and die. Rather he says quite rightly that we are a "community", part of Yeshua's (Messianic) Community whom He is ever building as we identify and abide in Him. The diversity of tribes, cultures and colors is not to be destroyed in the One New Man, who is not a prefrabricated, mass-produced, standardized, robot-image of our Maker or Redeemer. Our Father in heaven delights in His people and takes pride in His colorful garden of humanity when we faithfully reflect His glory in manifold and unique ways -- without compromising our faith's basic doctrines through idolatrous syncretism. Looking forward to your visiting us again, here in Dallas...

20:00 03Feb05 Kefa Ben Yehuda -
Shalom! I enjoyed your article very much. I don't agree with the church on some issues, but they are our brothers and sisters in Yeshua. We Jews need to keep our identity while embracing all of the body of Messiah. Healing can take place when we truly love our neighbor as ourself.

10:47 03Feb05 Jim Maring -
"As male and female still exist in Messiah and have distinctive callings, so the unity of Jew and Gentile is more parallel to marriage in covenant than to homogenization." Wow! Thank you very much for your insights on this text concerning our New Humanity in Yahshua. HalleluYah! Thank you. II Cor. 5:17

14:16 04Feb05 Benyahu -
As a Gentile friend of the Jews who understands the covenantal identity of the Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus I am happy to see more Gentiles getting the revelation of the importance of refuting replacement theology.

10:03 05Feb05 Ron Bittner -
Isn't it great that our creator has imagination. Existing in a cookie cutter world would mean even longer lines at the grocery store and fewer selections. His brilliant expressions are beyond depth and each has their purpose to form the whole "body" of the masterpiece. Thank you, Dan, for teaching us appreciation for the Masters work, and not glossing over the fine details that exist in its presentation. When one gets a love for art, a desire to see the next piece increases with it and value multiplies. I will pass on this article as a must read.

17:09 05Feb05 Susie Anderson -
I really appreciate your insights and interpretation of scripture regarding the calling for both the Church and for Jewish believers in the Messiah. Having been in both congregations and having many confusing issues arise, it is good to have a light shed on the subject. The article about the "One Law Movement" was circulated in my group of believers and they were "put off" and rejected your idealogy, as they are much into the keeping of feast days and many many other Jewish customs, from written Torah and man's traditions. I agree with you, about the calling for the Jewish beleiver being different than the Gentile and is comforting to understand neither is expected to become something that they are not.

13:29 13Feb05 Richard Cleary -
Dr. Juster, I appreciate your covenantel loyalty to the Messianic Jewish (and Gentile) Movement that is being mobilized within the Body of Messiah. Even though I was born in Canada, I feel deeply connected to my heritage in Ireland where my ancestors came from. Being a part of the Messianic movement and seeing how Jewish believers identify so richly with the heritage and customs of their people Israel has not made me envious. Contrarily, it has encouraged me to begin to look for and appreciate the good in my Irish heritage while intentionally honoring Messianic Jews by cherishing and respecting the good in their heritage. I entreat you as a son would a father to please continue blazing a trail in the Spirit for my generation to follow and join you in. May God pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, that is on Israel and all the nations under heaven.

15:52 13Feb05 Sue Snoots -
Thank you for your article. There are problems with some Messianic Jews and some Messianic Gentiles joining with other Gentile Believers. This article helps to clear up the misconceptions spreading in the Body of Christ. As leaders we must keep the relationship in its proper perspective; we each have a specific role that will compliment and grow up the Kingdom of God within each of our lives and in the earth.

14:57 06Mar05 Jeffrey Storey -
This article touched me deeply. I was thinking about celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday. This article convinced me to find a way to do that. More than that, this article convinced me that it is important that the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Jews of Gentile ancestry work together for the salvation of Israel. I will forever stand with Israel and the Jewish people as a Jewish person with Gentile ancestors.

08:30 07Mar05 Kelly Lee -
Everyone, please be encouraged! In Korea many christians think of Jews as the firstborn son, and all other Gentile christians as so called later born sons, adapted into God's family as His sons, by His grace through Jesus Christ. Together, we form one big happy family! I personally feel so happy and honored and privileged that the God of Abraham and of Israel, has come reached out to all races and people through His Son! Praise his mercy and universal love!

20:31 21Mar05 Deborah Nickerson -
I found this article on the relationship between Jewish and Gentile believers very helpful and have recommended it to several church friends. There is a beautiful complementary relationship that God has in mind, and it will be exciting to see it develop. I love my elder Jewish brothers and sisters and find myself so often benefiting from their unique wisdom.

17:20 04Jun05 David -
The article reflects a really balanced view which I tend to agree with. The power of the witness when Jew and Gentile join together testifying Yeshua is great and needs to be a primary goal in our days. The idea of "continued loving relationship" is the way that we will iron out the difficulties between us. If we can do that we will see the Kingdom of G-d on the earth.