Messianics

Asking The Forward: Why is this story (not very) different from all other 'Christian' Passover stories?

Asking The Forward: Why is this story (not very) different from all other 'Christian' Passover stories?

If you know nothing else about Passover, the Jewish festival that began on the evening of April 10, you might well know of the Seder dinner, its liturgy called a "Haggadah" and the "Four Questions" the youngest participant gets to ask during the meal.

The first question is perhaps the most famous: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" The brief answer is that the eight-day feast commemorates the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery and bondage in Egypt.

Zoom ahead to 2017 and The Forward. This is a New York City-based Jewish news and commentary publication that, in the past year or so, has had a particular interest in evangelical Christians who appropriate Jewish themes and who endorsed then-candidate, now POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

Asks the paper, "Evangelicals Are Falling In Love With Passover -- Is There Anything Wrong With That?" Let's jump in:

In March, Florida televangelist Paula White gave her followers a special holiday message. Not for Easter, which falls in mid-April, but for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“We are entering into one of the most supranational and miraculous seasons,” White, who is also a spiritual adviser to President Trump, said in a special video. “The season of Passover.” ...
In the traditional Passover story, God commands the Israelites to sacrifice lambs and to spread blood on their doorways so that they may be spared God’s wrath. Christians view the sacrificial lamb as an analogy for Jesus’ death, and the Israelites’ salvation as their own as believers in Jesus.
“The lamb’s blood became their salvation or their deliverance,” White said, referring to the Israelites. “Our Passover lamb, Jesus, is for your deliverance today.”

Many evangelical Christians, and more than a few Protestant mainliners, wouldn't find much to argue with in White's assertion.

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There's a mess here, all right, but not a Messianic Jew

There's a mess here, all right, but not a Messianic Jew

The BBC this week ran an article with the misleading headline "Israeli police bust 'messianic' prostitution ring." 

It's a misleading headline because normally when the word "Messianic" is used in relation to Jews, it refers to adherents of Messianic Judaism -- but that is not the case with the cult described in the story. Unfortunately, the rest of the story does not make this clear.

Some background: Messianic Judaism is a form of Protestant Christianity that strongly identifies with Jewish ritual, prayers, and cultural identity. In other words, Messianic Jews believe the Jewish Messiah has already come, and his name is Yeshua -- Hebrew for "Jesus." (My own faith journey included brief involvement with the Messianic Jewish community.)

The BBC's story, although not identifying the cult as Christian, reinforces the implication that Messianic Jews were behind the prostitution ring when it refers to women being forced by a "messianic sect" to have sex with "non-Jews":

Details have emerged from Israel about a prostitution ring in which Jewish women were allegedly forced into having sex with non-Jews by a messianic sect.

Two men and two women are being detained on suspicion of exploitation.

Police say the victims were brainwashed into believing that having sex with non-Jews would "save the Jewish people and bring about redemption".

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Whoa! Was John Kerry being too messianic or Messianic?

Holy dictionary! Talk about leaving a crucial term in a story undefined, unexplained, unattributed or all of the above. I almost spit my Diet Dr Pepper all over my iPad this morning (which is easier to clean than a computer keyboard, just sayin’) when I read the top of this Los Angeles Times report about Secretary of State John Kerry’s ongoing, some would say “relentless,” campaign to make headlines in the Middle East.

WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday condemned as “offensive” the reported comment of Israel’s defense minister that Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s campaign for Mideast peace grows from his “messianism.”

In an incident that may deepen strains between the two governments, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot as saying that Kerry is “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic.” He added that “the only thing that may save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us,” the article said.

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