I know that most Messianic Jews speak Hebrew, but besides that is there any difference between a Christian and a Messianic Jew? Do they have any significant differences in faith or hope!

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    I don't know if most Messianic Jews do speak Hebrew, it would depend on whether they have lived in Israel or not! (Not that they couldn't learn it elsewhere, but that's the main place it's spoken.)
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 12, 2014 at 6:14
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    Possible duplicate of What is Messianic Judaism?
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 10, 2017 at 11:43

4 Answers 4


The term Messianic Jew refers to Christians who identify as Jewish, as compared to those who identify as Russian, English, Thai etc. Most of them are of Jewish descent, though there are some who are not but have chosen to identify themselves as Jewish.

Most Messianic Jews believe there is a very strong continuity between the Hebrew scriptures and Christianity. Many uphold the Mosaic Law and, for example, celebrate its festivals. They believe that Jesus is the fulfilment of many of the prophesies of the Hebrew scriptures, just as Christians do. In general their beliefs are likely to be largely the same as other Christians, though there's also just as much diversity among them as there is the rest of us.

There are also Christians who are of Jewish descent but who do call themselves Messianic Jews. Jewish identity is more complex than other ethnicities as it may involve an identification with the Jewish people, their history, their culture and the religion of Judaism, or it may involve an identification with only some of those things. These people may acknowledge their Jewish descent but not strongly identify with the Jewish culture or religion, perhaps because contemporary Judaism has significant differences from how it was practiced in Biblical times.

  • Messianic Jews are not all Jews. There might be individuals who were born Jewish. The state of Israel, based on decisions of the chief rabbis, do not recognize them as Jewish as a group. They are ethnically mostly Americans. Aug 12, 2014 at 7:08
  • @gideonmarx Is there an article that expounds on the Messianic Jew's belief (hopefully part evangelical) that you recommend? Danii, is there a source for you post?
    – Zoe
    Aug 12, 2014 at 7:19
  • @gideonmarx Messianic Jews are not all Jews. There might be individuals who were born Jewish. I don't understand what you mean.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 12, 2014 at 7:26
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    @zoe I'm friends with a messianic rabbi who has many non-Jews in his congregation. The main difference as I've observed from speaking with him is that Messianic Jews acknowledge that faith in Messiah is the source of forgiveness, justification, and sanctification, while most groups of Judaism hold Torah obedience as the source of forgiveness, justification, and sanctification.
    – Andrew
    Aug 13, 2014 at 3:14
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    "as compared to those who identify as Russian, English, Thai etc." I think it's more as compared to those who identify as Christian. A messianic Jew is a Jew who happens to be a Christian, while a Christian is a Christian who happens to be Russian, English, Thai, or even Jewish. Aug 14, 2014 at 4:21

I was born and raised an orthodox Israeli Jew, and was an orthodox Rabbi for many years before becoming Messianic in 2008. The main body of beliefs are the same for Christians and Messianic Jews. However, the way we interpret scripture, and practice our faith can be very different indeed. Shabbot shalom to you all.


A Messianic Jew is simply a modern name for a Jewish Christian who does not renounce Judaism. Some are virtually indistinguishable from other Christians, but the majority continue to affirm some degree of Jewish identity. The Jews for Jesus movement characterizes themselves as "Ethnic Jews, embracing Jesus, still Jewish." Within that broad category there are two basic types: those that keep Jewish customs and those that do not. There are also further distinctions in terms of how "observant" Messianic Jews follow the Jewish dietary and purity laws. This follows the pattern among religious Jews generally.

A significant difference between most Messianic Jews and "normal" Christians is that Messianic Jews generally practice circumcision as a sign of God's continuing covenant. Also, while they affirm that Jesus ushered in the New Covenant, and they hold the New Testament to be holy scripture, they generally reject supersessionism, a doctrine taught by many Christians which can be interpreted to mean that God's covenant with the Jews has ended. Also:

  • They tend to call their pastors "Rabbi" instead of "Reverend" or "Father."
  • They celebrate Jewish holidays.
  • Services may include traditional Jewish prayers, especially the Shema, which Jesus is recorded a reciting verbatim in the Gospels (Mark 12:29).
  • They observe the Sabbath on Saturday, and some follow Jewish Sabbath laws.
  • Some [not the majority] Messianic Jews do not accept the Christian doctrine of the Trinity
  • Although virtually all practice Baptism [usually full immersion] they do not practice all Seven Sacraments as Catholicism and Orthodoxy do.

This site offers a survey of Messianic Jewish traditions. It appears to be mostly accurate. One exception is its claim that Messianic Jewish services do not include Holy Communion. That may be the case for some but definitely not all such traditions. It is correct when it says:

A Messianic congregation can be a very diverse group, including Jews who carefully follow Jewish laws, Jews who have a more liberal lifestyle, and individuals who do not follow Jewish laws or customs at all.

See also: Messianic Jews: A Brief History

Incidentally, contrary to the OP, outside of Israel, Messianic Jews do not necessarily speak Hebrew, depending on how much, if any of it, they inherited growing up.

  • And even if they do speak Hebrew, remember that modern Hebrew is significantly different from biblical Hebrew. Sep 18, 2022 at 1:14
  • Yes... but the Hebrew that Jews learn in Hebrew school is liturgical Hebrew... not modern Hebrew. Sep 18, 2022 at 4:53

Messianic Jews are Jewish and acknowledge that Yeshua is their Messiah. There are Christians that keep the Jewish traditions and may aspire toward worshiping G-d in that way but they are not recognized as being Jewish in an authentic Messianic congregation. One cannot attend an ethnic Church and now say they are of that ethnicity just because they feel at home in their worship. One is not Jewish because they attend a Messianic Congregation.
Shalom, E


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