Dr Daniel Juster, Director of Tikkun Ministries
2004: The question has challenged both the Jewish and the
Christian communities since the first century. Our answer
determines much in the way we approach relationships and
priorities. The fact that we ask this question, means
that there are some who may answer this question with a no,
or at least a partial no. Since our lives are passionately
invested in the primary question of the Jewish need for Yeshua,
it is important to answer it clearly and biblically.
The view that Jews do not need Yeshua, or at least not so
much, can be described in three categories:
The Idea that Jesus is not for Jewish People
Some teaching says that
the covenant made by Yeshua is for the Gentiles and not intended
for the Jewish people. This view holds that God has two covenants
- one for Jews through Abraham and Moses and one for Gentiles
though Jesus - and that it is not God's intention for Jews
to believe in Yeshua. This view was put forth by the Jewish
philosopher Franz Rosenweig in
The Star of Redemption. It is today held by some denominational
liberal Christians. Jewish people are to find their salvation
though Judaism, not Jesus. Very few Christian Zionists and
no Messianic Jews to my knowledge hold to this position because
they value the authority of Scripture. The witness of the
New Testament is overwhelmingly against this view. Paul writes
that the Gospel is "To the Jew first." The original
disciples were Jewish. All sought to convince as many Jews
as possible to believe in Yeshua. So there must by this evidence
be at least some need for Jews to believe in Yeshua.
The Idea that Jews Need to Eventually Believe
in Jesus but Not Now
are those who believe that Jews need to eventually believe
in Jesus, but this eventuality is after his return. Until
then, the one New Covenant that all will embrace, is primarily
being offered to Gentiles. In this Age, Judaism is an adequate
religion and way of salvation for the Jewish people. When
Romans says, "God has blinded their minds," it
means that it is not their fault that they do not yet believe
in Yeshua, but is rather the will of God. Ultimately all
the saved will acknowledge that the atonement of Yeshua was
the means of their salvation.
this position is belied by the example of Paul and the other
apostles who were zealous to bring Jewish people to the knowledge
of God. While a significant number of Christian Zionists
have adopted this position, I know of no Messianic Jews who
believe this, for it would contradict their own identity.
The Idea that Believing in Jesus is not Needed Now for Personal Salvation, but is Important for
a Minority of Jews for God's Last Days Purposes.
are those who believe that it is important for a minority
of Jews to believe in Yeshua as part of God's end time plan,
but not for personal salvation. While Jews may find an adequate
means of salvation through Judaism, it is nevertheless true
that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah and the Savior for all.
To believe in Yeshua offers a fuller and richer faith. Beyond
this, the Bible predicts that a large remnant will believe
before Yeshua comes and will play a great role in the ultimate
conversion of the nation to faith in Yeshua. However, Judaism
without Yeshua is a very good faith and Jewish people may
find personal salvation through it.
view is held by a significant minority of Christian Zionists
and a small but significant minority of Messianic Jews. This
is a far better view than the first two. It recognizes that
the New Covenant in Yeshua is made with the house of Israel and Judah and is indeed offered for both
Jew and Gentile. It is also true that the end time remnant
of Jewish believers has a crucial role before the return
of Yeshua in witness to Israel and to the nations of the world.
Revelation 7 makes this very clear, for we read of the 144,000
sealed from all the tribes of Israel who play a great world role. They
are distinguished from the rest of the Church because the
latter are described as those from all nations, peoples and
tongues. In the ultimate fulfillment of His return all will
understand that His blood purchased our redemption.
The Conviction that Jewish People
Desperately Need Yeshua.
is the position of the vast majority of Messianic Jews, and
many Christian Zionists. They believe that Jews need Yeshua
desperately, and for several reasons. I count myself in this
number. We agree with the third view that our destiny is
tied to a large minority of Jews believing before the return
of Yeshua. A significant minority of Jews need to believe
in Yeshua for Israel to fulfill its last days' destiny.
This is a strong motivation. Yet there is more. How do most
Messianic Jews deal with the assumption that normative Judaism
is the sole faith of the Jewish people? To Judaism we say
both yes and no.
Judaism is a faith with roots in the Bible and a heritage
that preserves much which is good and beautiful. However,
there are some aspects of Rabbinic Judaism which appeal to
intellectual pride and can elevate religious culture above
the need for God-initiated salvation. These pitfalls exist
in any religion. Yet we can become enamoured of
a Yeshua-less Judaism in a way that weakens the conviction
that Jewish people need the Messiah. The conclusion of the
great apostle Paul with regard to first century Judaism and
the condition of the Jewish people fits orthodox Jews today.
It is that most have not come to understand the way of salvation
by grace. While we must not presume to judge the destiny
of any individual, the general conclusion of Romans is clear.
Many practicing Jews have sought to establish their own self-righteousness
and have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1 ff.)Romans 3 includes Jewish
people within the category of people who are in need of faith
in Yeshua for personal salvation. Peter's preaching in Acts,
where thousands embraced Yeshua, shows the same urgency.
While there is an element of grace to be found in Judaism,
without a blood sacrifice for his sins, the Orthodox Jew
becomes focused on his own actions instead of the divinely
- granted atonement first presented in Torah. This "way
back to God" was never cancelled or superceded and was
ultimately fulfilled by Yeshua's sacrifice
on a Roman cross (Hebrews -15).
the condition of the Jewish people today is much worse than
in the first century. This includes both those in Israel and the Diaspora. Most Jewish people
do not believe in the divine authority of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Many question whether or not God exists. A majority of the
nation which gave the world the Torah, do
not really believe in the Torah. Many Jewish people have
associated Judaism with liberalism. Therefore many support
socialism, homosexual rights, sexual license (rampant in Israel), New Age Religion and much more.
Indeed, Jewish morality among the majority today is not very
different than liberal secular morality. Sin is not recognized
as a significant problem.
this vacuum of unbelief, the Messianic Jew and his Christian
friend have a great opportunity. The Gospel itself is God's
clear and powerful instrument in offering the grace of God
for salvation. It dispels the fog and presents our people
with a resurrected Messiah and Savior. It breaks the bondage
of secular liberalism and orthodox legalism. Indeed, without
the Gospel, the general conclusion, rightly drawn, is that
the Jewish people are lost. Yes, we are preserved as a chosen
nation for God's purposes, but individually and communally
we need Yeshua. Most Jewish people have no sense of real
fellowship with their Creator, the One who called them His
inheritance. So the eternal destiny of the nation and the
Jewish individual makes it a necessity for us to proclaim
the Good News. Indeed, it is "the power of God unto
salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans
1:16) Of course salvation is much more than personal eternal
life. It is the wholeness of our lives now, including joyful
and redemptive participation in community. This is why the
first priority of Tikkun is seeing Jewish people come to faith in Yeshua, and
as part of this to be discipled to
walk in His ways. To be involved in this historic awakening
is the privilege of a lifetime.