Rise and Value of Modern Messianic Judaism
Despite Christianity arising out of Judaism, beginning in the second century, Judaism and Christianity parted ways. Their mutual histories became painful, especially for the Jewish people, as millions of Jews were slaughtered over numerous centuries by so-called Christians. Following the Holocaust, major Christian leaders began to reconsider a theology that led to the tragedies of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic events. Thus, a new dialogue opened with Jewish leaders. At the same time the modern nation of Israel was established. In a sense, Christianity became more Jewish friendly. Accompanying these changes, two other seemingly unrelated events lead to a surge of Jewish young people embracing Jesus as Messiah. The first was the recapture of Jerusalem by the Jewish people in the Six-day war of 1967. This apparently fulfilled a prophecy uttered by Jesus (Luke 21:24), leading to what is known as the fullness of the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul may have well expanded upon this event in Romans 11:25 where the fullness of the Gentiles is associated with the turning back of the Jewish people to the Messiah. In other words, if the two passages are connected, then following the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control, large numbers of Jews suddenly should embrace Jesus as Messiah.
The second was the rise of the hippie movement. Many of the hippies were Jewish young people. As the ideals of the hippie movement waned, a significant number turned to Jesus and became the Jesus People. Many were Jews. These new Jewish Christians were not satisfied with a traditional Christianity that was historically anti-Semitic. Hence, many of them gathered together for a more Jewish expression of their newly found faith and with it formed modern Messianic Judaism.
Today, there are approximately 1000 Messianic Jewish congregations in the world with over 150 in Israel. These congregations have provided a home for thousands of Jews who embrace Jesus as Messiah as well as assisting the larger Church of understanding her Jewish roots. Both Jesus (Matthew 23:23) and Paul (Romans 11:25-26) suggest that the coming of Jews to the Messiah prefaces Jesus’ return to the earth.