Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Jewish Tradition

The Jewish mystical tradition and associated ideas and beliefs, have notably never had a huge foothold within mainstream Synagogue teaching. Yet, today’s Messianic Believers need to begin to be much more discerning, and think much more critically about this. We will not only need to evaluate a few things originating from Jewish mysticism which have “slipped in” unnoticed, but as we consider what is in store for us in the future, and things which we must be a bit more careful of.

If there is any area where today’s Messianic movement tends to absolutely excel, it is with integrating a wide selection of the mainline Jewish traditions and customs for observing the Sabbath. Regardless of their background before coming to Messiah faith, religious or secular, today’s Messianic Jews tend to remember Shabbat with the common elements of lighting candles, breaking challah, drinking wine, and attending synagogue services with traditional liturgy and Torah readings. Non-Jewish Believers who have been led by the Lord into the Messianic movement, seeking to embrace more of the Hebraic and Jewish Roots of their faith, have also taken a hold of Shabbat, the opportunity for rest it offers to the people of God, and many of the significant traditions that can make the Sabbath a very holy and sanctified time.

Frequently in much of today’s Messianic movement, what is witnessed is that the seventh-day Sabbath is simply a time for Believers to attend services at their local Messianic congregation, and for various other congregational activities. While congregational activities such as corporate worship, teaching, and fellowship do provide a legitimate way for people to consciously honor Shabbat—many questions do arise regarding work, permissible and non-permissible activities, and most especially what to do when “life happens.” Tension can arise between people inside and outside of one’s local assembly, with some thinking that one type of Shabbat observance is too lenient and liberal, and others thinking that another type of Shabbat observance is too rigid and inflexible. Surely, as we evaluate Biblical instruction, some traditional interpretations, and weigh some of the realities of Twenty-First Century living—the possibility does exist for us to come to a realistic orientation of making the Sabbath a holy and blessed time.

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