Read an Excerpt
(Excerpted from the Introduction)
Before the emergence of what is commonly referred to as the early church, there were Messianic Congregations. The first was located in Jerusalem, led by the disciples of Yeshua. It's membership and worship style was characteristically Jewish, and from these congregations, the Good News of the Messiah went out to the peoples of the world.
In the centuries following the Nicean council of 325 C.E., Jewish believers in Yeshua lost the option of living and worshipping as Jews. They found themselves in the position of either joining Gentile churches renouncing their Jewish identities, recanting their faith in the Messiah to remain in the Jewish community, or maintaining their identities and faith, but not attending any worship service.
When they joined traditional Christian churches, they were cut off by their family and friends, counted as having left the Jewish faith and people. They were perceived as joining the Gentiles because the churches, composed primarily of Gentiles, reflected a distinctively non-Jewish culture. This change from Jewish to non-Jewish emphasis was also the result of a decidedly anti-Jewish bias in Church leadership, which was manifested at the Nicean Council and thereafter in Church policies.
Many Gentiles prior to and after the coming of the Messiah have been anti-Semitic and unfortunately, some anti-Semitism continued from the Christian Church. The sad result of the millennia and a half of Christian anti-Semitism is the Jewish perception that belief in Yeshua the Messiah is both non-Jewish and anti-Semitic.
In spite of historic anti-Semitism, the relationship between the Jewish people and the Messianic faith has begun to change. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Lord began moving upon the Jewish people and many became believers in Yeshua. According to some authorities, this constituted the largest number of Jewish believers since the first century. In the early 1970s, the Messianic Jewish movement emerged out of this earlier Jewish revival of the nineteenth century. The Messianic vision of the 1970s shared the same view of Israel's Messiah and desire for salvation of the Jewish people.
What differentiated this latter development within the believing Jewish community from its earlier stages was the vision to continue living a Jewish life-style as people having accepted the Messiah. While most Jewish believers joined traditional churches, many did not. They did not see themselves as accepting something non-Jewish when they believed. They saw the Gospel and the Messiah they embraced as Jewish and as a fulfillment of God's promises to His people. Gradually, these groups of believers began to meet regularly in home fellowships and in monthly meetings. . . .