Are Messianic Jews Christian?

Okay yeah I know they’re Jews, but if they believe Jesus is messiah and the son of God…wouldn’t they be Christians? I don’t know much about messianic Jews though…soo…I may not have the facts right :confused:

Also do they celebrate Christmas? Hanukkah?..Both?

The way I understand it is that they do believe in Jesus as The Messiah, but they want to maintain their Jewish traditions and culture. I don’t know if they celebrate Christmas but I think they do maintain the Jewish holidays.

I can understand that it would be difficult to break with all the history and tradition of the Jewish culture.

As I understand it, the groups which call themselves “Messianic Jews” are little more than Evangelical Christians who practice certain external observances of Judaism. The vast majority of Jewish sects do not accept Messianic Judaism as being Jewish.


I’d call it a form of Protestant Christianity.

There are Messianic congregations where nobody is ethnically Jewish, although they have menorahs, Siddurim, Hebrew Bibles, etc.

Other Jews do not accept them as Jews; those outside of Israel are not permitted to move there under the Law of Return, for example.

Although there may be exceptions, I don’t think they participate in the Christian feasts such as Christmas.


*Not to be confused with Hebrew Catholics. :cool:

98% of Messianic Jews are not ‘Jews’ in the strict sense of being Jewish i.e. born to a Jewish mother and descending from a long line of Jews. You could not even call them converts to Judaism as they believe Christ is the Messiah, their doctrine is in direct opposition to Judaism. Most are gentiles who worship combining both traditions of the faith. I’ve met 5 Messianic Jews (none had a historical link to Judaism) and all of them advised me that they think the Catholic Church is the ‘whore of babylon’.

It is true that mainstream Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements) does not accept Messianic Jews as Jewish. However, they are not one uniform group. Some are Evangelical Christians, as you point out, but others are Jewish Christians, and still others, Hebrew Catholics. Within the Jewish Christian group, there are further variations: some regard themselves basically as Jewish but also accept Jesus as the Messiah, and they practice the rituals of Judaism; whereas others consider themselves essentially Christian, but also incorporate aspects of their Jewish heritage into their lives.

Some are, some are not. Most are Judaisers.

This is what I heard from numerous Christian friends as well.

A slight correction: If a “messianic Jew” has a Jewish mother, then according to Jewish law, they are Jewish. As our sages taught: “(An Israelite), even though he has sinned is still an Israel(ite)”.

By taking on beliefs that are not Jewish, these “messianic Jews” are, for all intents and purposes, excommunicated. They are so far outside the fold that we don’t relate to them as Jews. We don’t relate to them at all. However, if at some point in the future they wish to repent- giving up those beliefs and practices and rejoining the nation of Israel, they are accepted- no conversion required.

From my own experience, you have presented an accurate summation.

I would say that 2-10% of the congregants (apart from Hebrew Catholics) are from first or second generation Jewish households. Some of the phenomena that I have experienced is that the non Jewish congregants are looking for something authentically historical from the Jewish roots of their Christian faith, that they have a real compassion for Jewish people, and they have wounded pasts and are seeking healing from the Jewish-Christian pastors, who represent true shepherds to them.

As another poster said, because of their perceptions of past wrongs to the Jewish people, many have an unfavorable opinion of the Catholic church, eventhough many may come from Catholic backgrounds. There are some such Messianic congregations which have a very unbias attitude toward all denominations, and desire to see Jews, Muslims and Christians living in peace in Israel.


G-d’s shalom



Wow, this is news to me! So this “Messianic Jew” thing does not even originate with actual Jewish people??? That shocks me!! I had NO idea!!!

Well just the terms are contradictory - “Messianic” as in accepting Jesus Christ as the True Messiah of God means that one has become a Christian. So you would no longer be Jewish although your heritage would remain Jewish. Very much like in Jesus’ time and in the first few centuries after his death - the Jews who converted would have had a difficult time breaking from their traditions and fully accepting the new religion.

Does anyone have an idea as to the numbers of truly Jewish people (those with a Jewish mother) who term themselves “Messianic Jews?” I’m curious. And how does this happen?

I have no idea of the numbers, but there are some. There are MJ congregations in Israel, for example, where this would require that you be born there or enter as a “true Jew” and then become MJ.

I imagine that it happens because someone who is Jewish becomes convinced of our LORD’s Messiahship (Moschiachship?) but also believes that this fulfills rather than supersedes Judaism. So instead of joining a church, they seek out a MJ congregation.


I just find this so fascinating. I would love to talk to them, to find out what it’s all about and hear their challenges.

Au contraire. From a Jewish perspective, being Jewish to us is like a Catholic wedding to you- but even more so. It is forever, with no annulments possible.

100 generations later, as long as one’s mother’s mother’s mother (etc.) was Jewish, so is that person.

You see it as Christianity is a religion, aan Judaism is a religion. But we don’t- and neither does the Bible. We are a nation.

This is also why non-religious Jews are considered Jews no less than the most important rabbis.

Thank you so much for the further input. I need education on this subject!!


Sorry for any impression that I was being disrespectful of God’s chosen people, Israel! I assure you that I was not intentionally disregarding the Jewish nation!


No disrespect intended. You mention the Bible.

Jews of today are not Jews of the Bible, the nation you speak of.

There is no temple. There is no Levitical priesthood. There are no sacrifices.

Judaism as a Nation was dispersed North and South. Fact.

Jews of today are descendants of Rabiniccal Judaism of which there are many types, Orthodox, Reformed, etc. I don’t know what branch of Judaism you speak for however I believe you would agree that you do not speak for all forms of Rabinnical Judaism.


This is a mixed bag of Protestant thought salted with Jewish thought. At the heart of the movement is Protestant thought. I see them as Judaizing Christians and we heard about them in the book of Romans.

This site gives an overview of the diversity of beliefs. I am not suggesting that this is the site for all knowledge, just an example of the diversity.

My personal experience with these people is a desire to spend lots of time in the Old Testament and even invoking the Old Covenant.

I also find that when dealing with any one of these people the best thing to do is to ask where they worship and if it is possible to view their website. There you will find a statement of Faith…and the usual…

Sola Scriptura
Sola Fide

among other things…

You will also find as I found that the Assembly of God is behind many of these groups. The minister is “rabbi”…and the holidays and celebrations are part of their package.

There is no blanket understanding. There is a blanket source of information that should be looked at…do a search for “messianic judaism”…“messianic juadism split”…and discover for yourself…

The best is to look at each individual and the statement of Faith and history of their place of worship. If you can get access to their website…you will discover what it is they stand for and why hopefully.

I can only tell you what I remember from my own experience. The pastor of the Messianic Congregation of which I was a member, is of Reform Jewish parents. His wife is of Jewish parents, possibly Conservative. The pastor (rabbi) had a ‘conversion’ in the seventies, which he would describe as being of the Spirit of God.

Most of the ‘Messianic congregations’, but not all of these sort of congregations, have Jewish converts to Christianity as their pastors, (rabbis) who have had some sort of ‘conversion’ to the gospel.

Most of them would probably think of their ministry as being mediators between mainline Christianity and their own people of Judaism. They are usually engaged in fostering appreciation for the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, and also being good ambassadors for the people of Israel, eventhough most people of Israel and of the U.S. probably think of them as being disenguous ‘missionaries’.

Are they perfect? No, they are very human like the rest of us. If they had the holy Eucharist, like the Hebrew Catholics, I think they would be more complete. For this reason, it has been my experience that disallusionment causes a significant number to sort of ‘pull back’. I call these the ‘true believers’ who want the all of G-d in their lives, and a sure foundation in which to serve G-d. Many times they join other Protestant congregations, or even the Catholic church.

Here is a website regarding possible numbers:

God’s peace


No disrespect taken.

Of course we’re the Jews of the Bible- their direct descendants. I am a direct descendant of Aaron the Priest; Moses’ brother.

There is no Temple now- but there will be again. But the Temple isn’t what makes us who we are.

There IS Levitical Priesthood, although without the Temple, we are temporarily under-employed. G-d willing, that will be rectified. Soon. But the Temple isn’t what makes us who we are.

There are no sacrifices- - but there will be again. But sacrifices aren’t what make us who we are.

We are who we are because G-d said so, and that is forever. G-d doesn’t lie.

I speak for Rabbinic Judaism- Orthodox Judaism.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit