What is the future vision of your Messianic Judaism?
I ask this because it seems to me that some people and groups I run across don’t have a very inspiring model for tomorrow.
The Messianic Judaism that inspires me is about the greater purpose of God in redeeming Creation and bringing it to a perfect consummation in a glorious World to Come. That purpose of God works itself out in the unexpected and counter-intuitive providential thread of history. You will find this providential thread in Genesis and continuing in the story arc of the Bible.
The providential thread is centered on a people, selected by God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and confirmed in their election at Mt. Sinai. Through this people God will bless all the other peoples and this people never loses its centrality in the purpose of God working itself out in the world.
In the Messianic Judaism I became part of 20 years ago, there was less an emphasis on the continuing role of Israel in the working out of redemption and consummation. Israel had, in essence, played its part and was on the shelf for a while, until the very end of the age. Israel had been the vehicle to bring us the Bible and the Messiah. They were in stasis, and a very unpleasant stasis, until the time of Messiah’s return was near. Anything that happened within Israel between the advents of Messiah was irrelevant.
In the Messianic Judaism I encounter in many groups, it seems to me that Israel is irrelevant in different ways. A large segment of people labeling themselves Messianic are individualistic in their outlook and don’t appear to have a communal vision of being part of a divine movement in history. Israel is irrelevant because the gifts and calling of Israel become in Messiah the gifts and calling of every person from every tribe and nation. The Torah is for all of us, they say, and Israel did its part long ago. Israel is on the shelf having delivered the great vehicle of Torah to us. Thank you very much, Israel, and see you in the time of tribulation.
I have been now a student at MJTI (mjti.com) for several years and just in 2009 began working as the Media Coordinator. I have been growing for about five or six years through Hashivenu and the UMJC and my connections to MJTI.
The vision and model for Messianic Judaism that inspires me is encapsulated in MJTI’s vision statement: teaching and living a vision of Jewish life renewed in Yeshua.
There are a few things to note about this outlook:
1. It points to a future well-documented in the promises of God, a future in which Israel is renewed at the drawing together of all things toward the days of Messiah on earth.
2. It points to a past that is not only about Israel’s election via Abraham and at Mt Sinai, but also takes seriously the working of God in Israel in between the advents of Messiah, in the movement we call Judaism. Jewish life has been growing and adapting since the time Yeshua was here and this is not irrelevant to God’s purposes.
3. It points out Yeshua as the great hope of Judaism to fulfill God’s purposes and suggests that Judaism without Yeshua has not reached the goal. He is the end and goal of everything God wants Israel to be and Judaism ultimately must find its renewal in him.
Is your Messianic Judaism too small? Does it encapsulate the story arc of the Bible and look to God’s purpose working itself out as the prophets and apostles foretold? Or is it me-focused, about my right to Torah and to correct the allegedly errors of Christendom by reviving Torah? Or is it lopsided and focused on a New Testament people of God to the exclusion of God’s people whom he called the center of his purposes? Is your Messianic Judaism teaching a vision of Jewish life renewed in Yeshua?