Because those of us in the Continuing Church of God follow the practices of the early Christian, most of which were Jewish in the first century, some have wondered if we were part of the Messianic Jewish movement and, if not, how we differ. A related sermon is available as well: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
We differ in many ways including history, beliefs, dress, and practice. This article contains quotes from Messianic Jewish sources, Church of God sources, Jewish sources, scripture, as well as other sources to explain primarily how the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God differ. Some similarities are also covered. Now, it should be pointed out that there is a variety of beliefs from Messianic sources, and some Messianic Jews may well hold different views from those cited in this article.
For this article, perhaps it would be best to first start off with a question and answer:
Question: "What is Messianic Judaism?"
Answer: Messianic Judaism is the term given to Jewish people who believe and have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) of Nazareth as the promised Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. These Jewish people do not stop being Jewish, but they continue to remain strong in their Jewish identity, lifestyle and culture, while following Yeshua as He is revealed in the Brit Chadashah, the New Covenant. Many Messianic Jews refer to themselves as “completed Jews,” since they believe that their faith in the God of Israel has been “completed” or fulfilled in Yeshua. (What is Messianic Judaism? http://www.gotquestions.org/Messianic-Judaism.html#ixzz3CemClb5h viewed 09/07/14)
The above source also claims that there are about 350,000 Messianic Jews, which is much less than what some other Messianic Jews claim.
There are also claimed to be about 350,000 people as part of the Sabbatarian Church of God groups. The "little flock" (Luke 12:32) called the Continuing Church of God teaches that it is the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God (Revelation 3:7-13) and that it is not part of the Messianic Jewish movement (see also Where is the True Christian Church Today?).
While both the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God claim historical ties to the original apostles, the Messianic Jews essentially teach that their movement went away and returned again in the 19th century. This differs greatly from the position of the Continuing Church of God which believes that the true Church of God existed from Acts 2 to present (details are in the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God). We believe that this continued existence was prophesied (cf. Matthew 16:18; Revelation 1-3).
The following is from the website of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA):
FIRST CENTURY BELIEVERS IN YESHUA
Two thousand years ago Yeshua was a Jew living among Jewish people. "Yeshua," by which Jesus was called during his time on earth, is itself a Hebrew word for "Salvation." ...
After His death and resurrection, His following increased. From the book of Acts and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century A.D. hundreds of thousands of Jews followed His teachings (Acts 2:41, 2:47, 4:4, 6:7, 9:31, 21:20), and established Messianic Synagogues throughout the Roman Empire and beyond (James 1:1, 2:2).
One of the first debates these early disciples faced seems ironic to us now: Could non-Jews participate in the community of Yeshua's followers without becoming Jews? At the very birth of Judaism, God had told Abraham that He would bless all nations of the earth through Abraham's offspring (Genesis 12.3). Accordingly, the apostolic council in Acts 15 decided that non-Jews could follow Yeshua without converting to Judaism.
Many factors intervened in the following years. Believers in Yeshua suffered increased opposition from both Roman authorities and Jewish synagogue leaders. As more and more Gentiles came to accept this faith and as the original Jewish apostles passed away, the Jewishness of that first-century faith was gradually lost.
MODERN MESSIANIC JUDAISM
Though Messianic Judaism itself dates back to Yeshua's twelve apostles, its "resurrection" is a relatively new phenomenon.
In the late 1800s, after several large-scale "revivals" among protestant believers in the United States and Europe, many Christians sought to tell Jewish people about Yeshua, or Jesus. Even as some Jewish people in Europe began to desire to return to the land of Israel and establish a permanent Jewish homeland there, the Lord stirred many Jews to look at the so-called "Christian Bible," or New Testament Scriptures, for themselves.
Centuries of continuing anti-Semitism in the name of Jesus had left the Jewish community skeptical. But some Jewish men and women did become followers of Yeshua during this time. In the following decades whole congregations of Jewish believers in Jesus were born. This movement was dubbed "Hebrew Christianity."
"Hebrew Christianity" has since become known as "Messianic Judaism." There are now tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone; some estimate as many as 1.2 million. (MESSIANIC JUDAISM. Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_messianicmovement_messianic_judaism viewed 09/07/14)
Here is another version of history at the website of Congregation Shema Yisrael:
When Did The Early Messianic Jews Disappear And Why?
In spite of the many pressures put upon Jewish Believers to give up their faith, it seems that Messianic Judaism continued into the seventh century AD. First, non-Messianic rabbis pressured Messianic Jews to relinquish their faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. In addition, the dominant Gentile expression of Christianity pressured Messianic Jews to abandon their Jewishness. ...
MODERN MESSIANIC JUDAISM
When Did The Modern Messianic Jewish Movement Begin?
Though Messianic Judaism as a distinct movement faded in the seventh century, there have always been individual Jewish Believers in Yeshua. Beginning in the early 1800s increasing numbers of Jewish people began believing in Yeshua. The modern Messianic Jewish movement came to fruition in the 1960s and 1970s. (What is Messianic Judaism. Congregation Shema Yisrael. http://shema.com/messianic-judaism/what-is-it/ viewed 09/07/14)
So, essentially, the Messianic Jews believe that there movement went away, then came back. This differs greatly from the position of the Continuing Church of God. We believe that true Church of God Christianity continued throughout the ages (see Continuing History of the Church of God and The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and Where is the True Christian Church Today?).
It should be mentioned that there are some groups that claim to be both Church of God and Messianic, but the more they lean towards Messianic the less likely they are truly part of the Church of God.
Another difference between the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God is which churches that each consider to be Christian.
The Continuing Church of God teaches that only those churches who strive to hold to the original practices and teachings of the original Christian church could be Christian (cf. Jude 3). Simply claiming Christian association is not enough (cf. 1 John 2:18-19).
Messianic Jews seemingly accept groups that claim association with the pagan Emperor Constantine and the Emperor Theodosius to be Christian as the MJAA teaches:
Christianity later became the state religion of the Roman Empire. Eventually an anti-Semitic view of the Messiah's life and death became accepted theology in Christian Europe for hundreds of years. ...
Also important is Messianic Judaism's ministry to both the Jewish community and the Christian body of believers. Messianic Jews are part of the larger Body of Messiah throughout the world, and Messianic Jews hope to help all believers in Yeshua to better understand the Jewish roots of their faith. (MESSIANIC JUDAISM. Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_messianicmovement_messianic_judaism viewed 09/07/14)
Sun-god worshipping Emperor Constantine influenced heretic groups and convened a Council in Nicea in 325 A.D. to influence them more. Later, Emperor Theodosius essentially made a version of that faith the religion of the empire. The Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches claim these leaders as part of their own, and the bulk of the Protestant faiths later came out of them.
We in the Continuing Church of God cannot call the religion of Emperors Constantine and Theodosius Christianity in the biblical sense. 'Constantinian Christianity' became a state religion, but as a counterfeit to the true Christian religion (see also the free online booklet Where is the True Christian Church Today?). Of course, there are Messianic Jews that share the view of the Continuing Church of God on this. But no one truly part of the Continuing Church of God considers that the Constantian faiths were or are representatives of real Christianity.
Here is additional information related to the views of Messianic Jews related to non-Jews who claim belief in Jesus:
So what relationship does the Gentile Christian have to the 613 laws of the Torah? The book of Acts records that Messiah’s Emissaries (the Apostles) and the Elders of Messiah’s Holy Community met to decide this very issue. In the Messianic Jewish community we commonly refer to this meeting, recorded in Acts 15, as “the First Jerusalem Council”. (What is Messianic Judaism. Congregation Shema Yisrael. http://shema.com/messianic-judaism/what-is-it/ viewed 09/07/14)
Let it be stated that the apostles did NOT meet to discuss the '613 laws of the Torah' in Acts 15. There is no such thing. Messianic Jews should not try to kid themselves that the list was the issue.
The list of 613 comes from Jewish tradition and a misnomer about pomegranates (see Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What About the 613 Mitzvot?). The council of apostles and elders got together to decide whether or not Gentile Christians had to be physically circumsized:
1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. (Acts 15:1-6).
Circumcision was primary the issue. And there were debates and discussions (Acts 15:7-21). Then the following was sent out:
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" — to whom we gave no such commandment — 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. (Acts 15:24-29)
So, what happened was the the apostles and elders declared that physical circumcision would not be required of Gentile converts, but that they should specifically be advised to abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.
Some, including many Messianic Jews, falsely concluded that this meant that Gentiles no longer needed to keep the seventh-day Sabbath etc.:
According to the binding, Holy Spirit-inspired decision issued by the Emissaries and Elders, apart from saving faith in Messiah Yeshua, only four essential practices are necessary for Gentile Christians: abstaining from food dirtied by idolatry, from sexual immorality, from eating blood and from the meat of animals that have been strangled (see Acts 15, especially verses 19-20, 28-29). In addition to these Four Essentials, obedience to the Moral Law (for example, not stealing, not murdering, not committing adultery and not bearing false witness) is required. The Creator has written these moral laws on everyone’s heart (see Romans 2:14-15). Apart from these Four Essential Practices and the Moral Law, everything else – including the Sabbath, holidays and dietary laws – is to be regarded as non-essential, and comes under the area of Christian freedom and liberty.
Yet, this is in severe scriptural error. The declaration from the council did not at all mention stealing, bearing false witness, dietary laws, the Sabbath, or the Holy Days. Early Christians, including Gentile ones, realized that all of those were still in force. And I would add that even Catholic scholars understand that Christians in Gentile areas still attended some type of weekly service on the Sabbath (e.g. Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, pp. 318, 332). There are various historical records of this (for some details, see The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad).
The Bible itself is clear that the Sabbath remains for the people of God according to Protestant and Catholic translations:
3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." 5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience...9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NIV).
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,.. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NASB)
3 We, however, who have faith, are entering a place of rest, as in the text: And then in my anger I swore that they would never enter my place of rest. Now God's work was all finished at the beginning of the world; 4 as one text says, referring to the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. 5 And, again, the passage above says: They will never reach my place of rest. 6 It remains the case, then, that there would be some people who would reach it, and since those who first heard the good news were prevented from entering by their refusal to believe…9 There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God's people, 10 since to enter the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his. 11 Let us, then, press forward to enter this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of refusal to believe and be lost. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NJB)
3 For we, that have believed, shall enter into their rest; as he said: As I sware in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: and truly the works from the foundation of the world being perfected. 4 For he said in a certain place of the seventh day thus: And God rested the seventh day from all his works…9 Therefore there is left a sabbatisme for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, the same also hath rested from his works, as God did from his. 11 Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest; lest any man fall into the same example of incredulity. (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, The Original and True Rheims New Testament of Anno Domini 1582)
3 For we who believed enter into [that] rest, just as he has said: “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest,’” and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. 4 For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; 5 and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains that some will enter into it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience,... 9 Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. 10And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. 11 Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.(Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, New American Bible)
Thus, the New Testament clearly shows that the command to keep the seventh day Sabbath is in the New Testament. It also shows that only those who will not observe it because of their disobedience argue otherwise. And that is why Paul observed it.
One reason that many today do not understand that all Christians need to keep the Sabbath is that certain translators have intentionally mistranslated the Greek term sabbatismos (ςαββατισμóς) found in Hebrews 4:9. The Protestant KJV and NKJV mistranslate it as does the CHANGED version of the Rheims New Testament, also known as the Challoner version (changes in the 18th century)--all three mistranslate the word as 'rest,' whereas there is a different Greek term (katapausin), translated as 'rest' in the New Testament. Sabbatismos clearly refers to a 'sabbath-rest' and honest scholars will all admit that. Because of the mistranslations, most today do not realize that the seventh-day Sabbath was specifically enjoined for Christians in the New Testament.
While Messianic Jews keep the Sabbath, the New Testament teaches that there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles:
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
All who wish to be faithful Christians will heed the instructions in the Book of Hebrews and keep the Sabbath.
Yet, Messianics do not hold that view and hold that those who followed the Constantinians are faithful Christians, which is simply not the case.
Now many, but not all, Messianics place emphasis on living their lives according to the tradition they call the 613 laws, 613 commandments, or 613 mitzvot. Here is something from a claimed 'Messianic Truthseeker":
"613 mitzvot" are actually levitical instruction in the Torah, within the instructions ten of them are the Ten category Mitzvot (Exodus 20) in which the Almighty requires us to shomer and In Galatians 3:24 mention that the Torah are used in the distinctively Christian Scriptures as an instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16 - 17; cp. Rom 13:8 - 10; 1 Cor 9:8 - 9; Eph 6:1 - 3 HNV). (613 Torah commands - TARYAG MITZVOT (Perintah Taurat). http://messianic-torah-truth-seeker.org/Torah/613-Mitzvot-IDX/613-Mitzvot-idx.html viewed 09/08/14)
But as many of these 613 are simply added Jewish traditions, they are not appropriate for Jews or Gentiles to advocate.
Here is information on a few of them:
That every person shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself.(Deut. 31:19) (CCA15). See Torah.
Deut. 31:19 mentions a song to learn, but not to write the Torah. Deut. 17:18-20 mentions that kings should write the law.
To recite grace after meals.(Deut. 8:10) (CCA13) See Birkat Ha-Mazon: Grace After Meals
Deut. 8:6-10 explains that you should thank God for all the blessings that He gives you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There isn't a requirement to recite a specific prayer after each meal (Matthew 6:7). You are to have thanksgiving when you pray (Philippians 4:6).
To be fruitful and multiply.(Gen. 1:28) (CCA43).
Told to Adam and Eve, not necessarily commanded to every married couple. Additionally, Matthew 24:19 cautions mothers near the end of the age.
Not to castrate the male of any species; neither a man, nor a domestic or wild beast, nor a fowl.(Lev. 22:24) (CCN143).
Lev. 22:24 refers to only when an animal is going to be part of an offering.
That the new month shall be solemnly proclaimed as holy, and the months and years shall be calculated by the Supreme Court only.(Ex. 12:2) (affirmative) (the authority to declare months is inferred from the use of the word "unto you").
Ex. 12:2 does not say only the Court rules on the month. As we know, Jesus Christ kept Passover one day earlier than the Jewish leaders did because the Jewish leaders may be in error in many of their decisions. God declares these days and months (Ex. 12:1).
Not to eat chametz after mid-day on the fourteenth of Nissan.(Deut. 16:3) (CCN104).
There aren't any conditions regarding mid-day in Deut. 16:3.
Not to eat the of the thigh-vein which shrank.(Gen. 32:32) (CCN1).
In Gen. 32:32, God does not explicitly say the people are not eat this, but it is shown as a tradition.覧覧
Some day, I hope to have detailed information on all of them. But as the above shows, they are not all laws, often simply Jewish added traditions.
Jesus warned that the Jews added a lot of traditions that He stated got in the way of them following the real commandments:
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"
6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11 But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" — ' (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." (Mark 7:5-13)
Thus, since all of those 613 mitzvots are NOT actually in the Bible, but are added Jewish traditions, not all need to be followed. Because various ones, such as various (though not all) of those called Messianic Jews try to follow the 613, they misunderstand many other parts of the Bible and God's purpose. More on the 613 can be found in the article Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain?
What do you know about the Pharisees?
Halley's Bible Handbook states that the:
"Pharisees were the most numerous and influential of the religious sects of Jesus' day. They were strict legalists. They stood for the rigid observance of the letter and forms of the Law, and also for the Traditions."
Is this view correct? Did the Pharisees stand for the observance of the law, did they keep the law, were they 'legalists', or instead did they prefer to keep traditions of men?
The first mention of the Pharisees in the Bible involved John the Baptist:
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. (Matthew 3:7-10).
The first statement Jesus made which mentions them was also negative:
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)
As shown in the previous section, Jesus clearly accused the Pharisees of old of breaking the Ten Commandments to observe their traditions (Mark 7:5-13).
According to Smith's Bible Dictionary,
"The fundamental principle of the Pharisees...is that...there was an oral law to complete and explain the written law, given to Moses".
Let's again look at a biblical example of that:
1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." (Matthew 15:1-2)
Interestingly, the Pharisees were quite concerned about 'the tradition of the elders' even though there was no biblical requirement to wash hands before eating bread. Now the Pharisees, like the Messianic Jews, prided themselves on keeping the entire law.
But the Son of God had a different view of them:
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28)
In addition to overly relying on tradition, the New Testament teaches that the Pharisees broke and/or did not proper understand everyone of the Ten Commandments Let us look at how the Pharisees seemed to violate each of the ten commandments:
1.) "But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves" (Luke 7:30), which is a violation of the first commandment.
2.) They considered gold more important than the temple which seems to be a violation of the second commandment (Matthew 23:16).
3.) "Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, 'Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone for You regard not the person of men" (Matthew 22:15-16). This is a violation of the third commandment since they were taking God's name in vain.
4.) The Pharisees also plotted to kill Jesus because He healed someone on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-14; Mark 3:4-6), not because this act was prohibited in the Law of God (it was not), but because of their traditions. They would not admit that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4; Matthew 12:12-14; Luke 6:9-11), which should be considered as a violation of the fourth commandment.
5.) As cited earlier they violated the fifth commandment and justified it through their traditions (Matthew 15:3-6).
6.) They also had Jesus killed (John 11:57;18:3;19:6) for their envy (Mark 15:9-10), thus they violated the sixth commandment. Plus, they also apparently plotted to get Stephen improperly condemned (Acts 6:11-13) and thus were part of his murder.
7.) Jesus suggested that some committed adultery through divorce (Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12), and adultery is a violation of the seventh commandment.
8.) Jesus also implied they stole from widows, which is a violation of the eighth commandment (Matthew 23:14).
9.) They were insincere, sometimes bearing false witness, “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk…But Jesus perceived their wickedness” (Matthew 22:15,18). This a violation of the ninth commandment–if the Pharisees really felt that Jesus was true and taught the true way of God, they would not have plotted to entangle Him. They also apparently set up false witnesses against Stephen (Acts 6:13). They also had part in spreading the lie that Jesus’ body was stolen-Matthew 27:62; 28:12-13; another violation of the ninth commandment.
10.) Jesus said to the Pharisees, "your inward part is full of greed and wickedness" (Luke 11:39), thus the Pharisees violated the tenth commandment (many Pharisees were also lovers of money (Luke 16:14).
Thus, the Bible either states or implies that the Pharisees one way or the other violated all ten of the commandments.
The Pharisees complained that the disciples ate with tax collectors and sinners, which was also a violation of their tradition (Luke 5:30); they complained that Jesus did that too (Luke 15:1-2). Again, these acts by Jesus and the disciples were not violations of God's commandments. Because of the falseness of such teaching, Jesus warned people to beware of the doctrines of the Pharisees:
5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread."
8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? — but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12)
Well, most emphasize points of the 613 mitzvot, despite the fact that they are not all biblical and come from traditions of Jews. There emphasis on the mitzvot as doctrine is consistent with Jesus' warning in Matthew 16:12.
But what about violating the Ten Commandments?
While I do not have a list of how they break all ten, I would simply mention a few:
1). The elevation of non-biblical Jewish tradition to the status of a biblical law would seem to violate the first commandment.
2). The use of symbols such as the Star of David would seem to violate the second commandment.
6) There is a Messianic Jewish chaplain in the US military. The fact that Messianic Jews feel that they can be in the military is a violation of statements that Jesus and John the Baptist made (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?), and would hence seem to violate the sixth commandment. As the US military does not have to allow one to keep the full Sabbath or holy days, would suggest that Messianic Jews in the military would, at times, break the fourth commandment.
I suspect that Jesus would consider that, despite outward appearances, that the Messianic Jews practice a form of lawlessness similar to that of the Pharisees of old. More on the Pharisees can be found in the article Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?
Notice also the following:
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
"Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Romans 9:30-33)
Works without proper faith is dead (cf. James 2:26).
My personal encounters with Messianic Jews brings to mind the Pharisees.
The first time was couple who went from being evangelical Protestant to Messianic, eventually became Jewish proselytes and rejected Jesus.
The next person I recall was a Church of God minister. He claimed he would essentially fulfill Matthew 24:14 proclamation through his website. Well, that did not happen. Rankings by Alexa (an independent source) reveal that his efforts were not successful. There was another COG minister I heard of who also went the Messianic direction, but he too has never been particularly successful in fulfilling Matthew 24:14.
Several years ago, I was asked to speak before a group of Messianic Jews and discuss prophecy. Though the presentation went well, one Messianic for the next couple of weeks pressed me about the COG position (which comes from the New Testament per Acts 15:24) that males are NOT required to be circumsized, though we consider it to be a good idea. The fact that we had all three of our sons circumsized was irrelevant to him. He essentially stated without requiring male circumcision, we could not be the true church. Yet, the next year he had a son. Since his wife (who seemed to be the head of the household and primary bread-winner) was opposed to circumcision (even though she, too, supposedly was Messianic), their son was not circumsized. Too me this represented hypocrisy and cowardize on his part, and as far as I could tell, he has remained a Messianic with beliefs he does not practice.
The next Messianic Jew I encountered has repeatedly, and confidently, pushed certain prophetic positions, and dates, which he has often been wrong about. To his credit, he has allowed me to assist him in his prophetic understandings, but he regularly goes back to prophetic positions that I have not found to be scripturally accurate.
In the Summer of 2016, I encountered two other Messianic Jews who made various promises to me, but never kept them. One of the two did, at least, ask me if his friend did what he promised to do, and I told him no. Apparently, some who claim to be Messianic Jews do not believe that they need to keep their word.
But there was a bizarre encounter with a Messianic Jew on the Last Great Day on October 24, 2016. This woman, who I did not know, attended our Continuing Church of God Holy Day service that I oversaw. She took a chair from the front of the meeting room, and placed it in the very back where she chose to sit. When I offered her a songbook (which is based mainly on the psalms in the Bible), she refused. She also did not sing nor give a holy day offering. After services were over, she started to go to the front of the meeting room and said she wanted everyone's attention for an announcement she wanted to make. I confronted her and said that she would need speak to me before making some announcement. She said that she would not, continued to the front of the meeting area, and started to make her announcement. I interupted her and told her to stop. She refused so, I told her to leave. I reminded her that she was a guest, and though she agreed with that, he said that she should be able to do what she wanted. I told her that was not the case, nor do we allow female preachers in the Continuing Church of God (see also Women and the New Testament Church). She then tried to claim she was not preaching, only reading scripture. I told her she was trying to preach and again told her she needed to leave. After calling someone else over who I thought may have known her, and after saying it was rude for me to do my biblical job to prevent her from spreading her false doctrines in the church (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16), she finally left.
Now, this woman was not at church services to learn or keep the biblical Holy Days. I later found out that she had attended one other time when I personally was at another Feast of Tabernacles' site. I learned when she was there then, she attempted to secretly promote various Messianic heresies. I then found out that she considered that I and the Continuing Church of God were false as we did not require wearing of tassells and other matters she had planned to come back to teach her doctrines. Lest this seem to be a blast against all Messianics, the woman who came to teach her heresies was not part of any organized Messianic group according to someone I spoke with who knew her.
She reminded me of the following scriptures:
1 ... there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1).
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. ...
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (Jude 8, 12-13)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10)
She did not come to a Continuing Church of God holy day service to worship God and keep His commandments--she came to teach a false message.
Now, this does not mean that all Messianic Jews are hypocrities, connivers, etc., and there are those who falsely claim to be in the Church of God who are hypocrites, not converted Christians, etc. Yet, the percentage of Messianics that I have encountered with the problems I have written about here is high (I have written about all I have knowingly spoken to about much).
And then there is the Messianic Jonathn Kahn, who I never spoke with, but whose 'prophesies' related to blood moons and the Shemitah year proven to be false.
There are differences amongst those called Messianic Jews. Here is one assessment:
What is the Difference between a Messianic Israelite and a Messianic Jew? Posted by Lev/Christopher on November 2, 2008
Firstly, you must remember that there are about as many types of Messianic Jew as there are types of Protestant. Messianic Jews tend to make no distinction between "Jew" and "Israel" as though the whole of Israel was Judah instead just a twelfth part. Israel and Judah have become synonymous to them. More serious than this, though, are the racial implications of what being a "Jew" means as I have discussed above. For most Messianic Jews aren't Judahites.
Messianic Israelites recognise, broadly-speaking, that all the tribes matter, and not just Judah. They believe that the northern Ten Tribes, which were taken away into captivity by the Assyrians and who never returned to the Holy Land, are co-inheritors with Judah. ...
Most Messianic Israelites believe that the prophesied joining together of the sticks of Judah and Ephraim mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezek.37:15ff.) refers to the joining together of Messianic Jews with Gentile Christians who have accepted Torah. ...
So, sadly, there are many "Messianic Israelite" ideas as to what joining the Two Houses of Ephraim and Judah actually means.
My own belief is that Messianic Judaism is no more or less an abberation than Protestantism. The latter holds on to its pagan traditions (like Christmas, Easter, etc.) and the former holds onto its Talmudic ones, perpetrating the "Judaising" heresy that Paul had to fight and afflicting the Body with legalism.
(What is the Difference between a Messianic Israelite and a Messianic Jew? Posted November 2, 2008, updated May 10, 2010. http://www.nccg.org/ning/groups/messianic_faq/8-what-is-the-difference.htm viewed 09/20/14)
It should be noted that there are descendants of all the tribes of Israel today. For details, see Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.
Some claim Messianic Israelites believe the Jews and Gentiles all have to keep the same rules "one law for all." The New Testament teaches that:
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. (Romans 10:12)
This is also taught in Galatians 3:26-28. Others disagree, and agree more with the main Messianic Judaism movement that there are two sets of rules: one for Gentiles and the other for Jews.
Another difference between the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God is their views on the Godhead.
The Statement of Faith at the MJAA website (similar to the "What We Believe" page of the website of the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues) states:
What we believe...
GOD THE FATHER ...
GOD THE SON ...
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (Our Statement of Faith. Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_aboutus_statement_of_faith viewed 09/07/14)
While the statements shown above about the Father and the Son were believed by the original apostles and early Christians, that last statement did not get officially adopted by the Constantians until the Council of Constantinople held in 381 A.D. during the time of Emperor Theodosius, who used imperial might to implement this declaration of men.
Even in the mid-fourth century, most of the Constantinians in places like Asia Minor held to a binitarian or semi-Arian view of the Godhead according to even The Catholic Encyclopedia. They did NOT universally accept the personhood of the Holy Spirit until they were pressured to, which is part of why the Council of Constantinople was called.
Perhaps the following should also be mentioned:
Trinity - Messianic Jews vary in their beliefs about the Triune God: Father (HaShem); Son (HaMeshiach); and the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). Some accept the Trinity while others say God is not (or cannot be) a man (Jesus). (Zavada J. Messianic Jews’ Beliefs and Practices What Do Messianic Jews Believe? About Religion. http://christianity.about.com/od/messianicjewishmovement/a/Messianic-Jews-Beliefs-And-Practices.htm viewed 09/07/14)
Thus, it appears that Messianic Jews tend to be trinitarian or unitarian. Neither of those was not the position of the apostles nor the early Christians (see Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? and Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church?).
Nor was trinitarianism the position of the 'Nazarenes' (see Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes?).
Messianic Jews have adopted certain non-biblical symbols that they sometimes display and sometimes wear.
The 'Star of David' is one such symbol that many Messianics use (http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_messianicmovement_messianic_judaism viewed 09/08/14). The Jewish Virtual Library reports:
The Magen David (shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David) is the symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today, but it is actually a relatively new Jewish symbol. It is supposed to represent the shape of King David's shield (or perhaps the emblem on it), but there is really no support for that claim in any early rabbinic literature. In fact, the symbol is so rare in early Jewish literature and artwork that art dealers suspect forgery if they find the symbol in early works. ...
The symbol of intertwined equilateral triangles is a common one in the Middle East and North Africa, and is thought to bring good luck. ...
In the 17th century, it became a popular practice to put Magen Davids on the outside of synagogues, to identify them as Jewish houses of worship in much the same way that a cross identified a Christian house of worship (Judaism: The Star of David - Magen David. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/star.html viewed 09/08/14)
True Christians do not go around wearing/promoting 'good luck' charms, which is what the Jews seem to admit that the Star of David is. The Star of David is basicially a hexagram, which is similar to some of those used for paganism, including witchcraft, sorcery, and other occult practices:
~ The six-pointed star ~
This is one of the most powerful and beneficial of the ancient Atlantean spiritual symbols, which was utilized by the Egyptians. It is composed of an upward triangle taking Earth to Heaven and a downward triangle bringing Heaven to Earth. ... The KEY of the Egyptians is to connect the six-pointed star, bring Earth to Heaven and Heaven to Earth. (Cooper D, Crosswell D. The Keys to the Universe: Access the Ancient Secrets by Attuning to the Power and Wisdom of the Cosmos. Findhorn Press, 2010, p. 55)
The Star of David does not have biblical origins. The Bible warns against idols (Exodus 20:4-6; 1 John 5:21) and paganism (Jeremiah 10:2-11) as well as the various sins from Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:6-8; cf. Hosea 8:3; Revelation 11:8). But many of the Messianich Jews overlook this for their traditions (cf. Matthew 15:2-9).
The Messianic Jews will display crosses as a symbol of their 'Christianity' (e.g. http://www.messianic-torah-truth-seeker.org/Torah-Midrash/Color-Bible/colour-bible.html viewed 09/08/14), which is all the more astonishing as some of the same Messianic Jews preach in opposition to the incorporation of paganism with Christianity (http://messianic-torah-truth-seeker.org/ viewed 09/08/14). It needs to be clearly stated that the apostles and early Christians did not use crosses as symbols of their faith, nor does the Bible (in the original Greek) teach that Jesus was killed on a cross, nor does the original Greek use the term 'crucifixion' (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?).
Another difference between the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God is their views on the resurrections.
The Statement of Faith at the MJAA website states:
What we believe...
RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT
We believe in the resurrection of both the redeemed and the lost: the former to everlasting life and the latter to eternal separation from God, a state of everlasting punishment (Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2-3; John 3:36; 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 10-15; 21:7-8).
This differs greatly from what the original apostles and early Christians believed (see ) as well as the beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God states:
THREE RESURRECTIONS AND THREE JUDGMENTS
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).
The Bible actually teaches that there are three future resurrections (What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?). The first for the saints at the time of Jesus’ return (Revelation 20:5-6; John 5:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:16), the second for others (Revelation 20:5a,11-12; John 5:25; cf. Matthew 11:23-24), and the third for the incorrigibly wicked and those who died after the hundred years (Revelation 20:13b-14; John 5:29; Isaiah 65:20).
The Bible teaches at least three judgments and that “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). In this life, Christians are judged (1 Peter 4:17). A second judgment is the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-12) which comes after the millennial reign of Jesus and His saints (Revelation 20:4-6). Later (Isaiah 65:20) comes the final judgment including Death and Hades (Revelation 20:13-14), and anyone not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
We in the Continuing Church of God believe that the plan of God, as shown by His Holy Days (see also Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God) helps show the resurrections and their purpose. We also need to be diligent to preach Christ's gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14). This does not seem to be the emphasis of the Messianic Jews nor most with ties to Church of God groups during this Laodicean age (Revelation 3:14-22).
The bibical holy day, calle the Last Great Day, is called by Messianic Jews Shemini 'Azaret. Here is some of what one Messianic Jew wrote about it:
1 Peter 3:20 says that there were eight souls saved in the ark through water. Thus, we see that eight is the number of the covenant and that it includes all of humanity.
NOTE: Seventy nations come from Noach (Gen. 10). ...
There's an old Jewish midrash that says the seventy sacrifices of Sukkot represent the nations and the single sacrifice on Shemini Atseret represents only Israel.
Here's a One-Law midrash:
"The seventy sacrifices of Sukkot represent all of humanity; the single sacrifice of Shemini Atseret represents all of humanity becoming one."
On that Great Day His People will be one even as He is one.
(A One-Law Midrash About Shemini Atzeret. Orthodox Messianic Judaism. September 24, 2013. http://orthodoxmessianic.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-one-law-midrash-about-shemini-atzeret.html viewed 09/19/14)
Unlike the Messianic Jews, we in the Continuing Church of God believe that God's plan of salvation will result in all that ever lived being offered salvation and that nearly all will ultimately accept salvation through Jesus Christ. Not only is that belief consistent with the views of the early professors of Christ, it is also supported by hundreds of scriptures (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).
Messianic Jews, like most others that profess Christ, do not seem to understand God's plan for humanity.
While scholars recognize that nearly all of the original Christians were Jewish and kept the seventh-day Sabbath, the Passover, and the Ten Commandments, there is not evidence that they attempted to look and dress like Jewish rabbis as many male Messianic Jews do.
The New Testament demonstrates the apostles did not appear to look like Jewish rabbis or Levitical priests. When, for one example, the Apostle Paul was arrested, the authorities did not recognize him as a Jew, but thought he was an Egyptian (Acts 21:37-38). Paul had to tell the military commander he was a Jew (Acts 27:39). Thus, Paul did not look like a Jewish rabbi, nor was he apparently wearing distinguishing phylacteries or tzitzits as the Messianic Jews do.
Many Messianic Jewish men wear yarmulkes/yamikas (e.g. http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_messianicmovement_messianic_judaism viewed 09/08/14), a version of which is also worn by Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic leaders.
Here is what a Jewish source reports about them:
YarmulkeCover your head so that the fear of heaven may be upon you. -Talmud Shabbat 156b
R. Huna son of R. Joshua would not walk four cubits bareheaded, saying: The Shechinah [Divine Presence] is above my head. -Talmud Kiddushin 31a
R. Huna son of R. Joshua said: May I be rewarded for never walking four cubits bareheaded. -Talmud Shabbat 118b
The most commonly known and recognized piece of Jewish garb is actually the one with the least religious significance. The word yarmulke (usually, but not really correctly, pronounced yammica) is Yiddish. According to Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, it comes from a Tartar word meaning skullcap. According to some Orthodox and Chasidic rabbis I know, it comes from the Aramaic words "yerai malka" (fear of or respect for The King). ...
Whatever the reason given, however, covering the head has always been regarded more as a custom rather than a commandment. Although it is a common pious practice to cover the head at all times, it is not religiously mandatory. ... the similar skullcap worn by the Pope. (Signs and Symbols. Judaism 101. http://www.jewfaq.org/signs.htm viewed 09/08/14)
So, Jews recognize that yarmulkes are NOT biblical, but come from Talmudic traditions and that they are similar to what the Roman Catholic pontifex maximus wears. Yarmulkes, depending upon their color, can give the impression of a look for religious leaders that the Bible prohibits (cf. Leviticus 21:1,5).
Early church leaders did not look like Jewish rabbis nor did they dress like the Anglican/Roman/Eastern Orthodox Catholic clergies now dress. They basically dressed like regular people (see also Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress?).
Furthermore, Christian males are not to have their heads covered when the pray:
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. . . 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 11:4,7)
Many Messianic Jews do pray with their heads covered.
Messianic Jews tend focus on improper aspects of outward appearances and traditions of Judaism.
Furthermore, many of them believe that they have to obey 613 regulations (called 613 Mitzvot). Many of these regulations do not actually come from the Bible. The 613 mitzvots (commandments) are based primarily on the list compiled by Rambam in the Mishneh Torah (http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm viewed 09/07/14). Thus, many of them should be considered to be from extrabiblical rabbinical tradition. Jesus condemned the Pharisees in His day for adding regulations and commandments that God did not add (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-13). Also, because Jesus came, various biblical regulations were changed or superceded (Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain?).
But most Messianic Jews do not understand that. While they do not go into the same ditch of lawlessness that some Protestant leaders advocate, like the Pharisees did (Mark 7:6-13) they tend to insist on regulations that the Bible does not.
Messianic Jews generally prefer to use Hebrew terms for Jesus, etc. And while those terms of themselves are normally fine, since the New Testament was mainly (or entirely) written in Greek, and the name Jesus is transliterated from Greek characters to be Iesous (believed to be pronounced ee-ay-sooce), it does not appear that God intended that Christians would need to use Hebrew terms such as Ye'shua, as the Messianic Jews tend to use.
While some might use the term Yeshua sometimes, those in the Continuing Church of God generally uses the name Jesus to refer to the Messiah.
The true Christian church should be proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and this has never been the focus of ANY Messianic Jewish group I have read about.
Messianic Jews tend to give their congregations Hebrew or other names than 'Church of God.'
The predominant biblical name of the true Church in the New Testament is 'Church of God' (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16,22; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:5,15).
Throughout Christian history, the true church has normally used a version of the expression 'Church of God' (or 'the churches of Christ,' cf. Romans 16:16) though often with another word with it (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Timothy 3:15).
Of course, a number of Greco-Roman-Protestant organizations lay claim to the name of the true Church. So when wanting to establish this phase of the true Church of God, for the purpose of conducting the business of God on this earth, as the Continuing Church of God was unable to incorporate as, simply, 'The Church of God' as that was not available. So to show ties to the biblical Church as well as to show connection from the church from the beginning (Acts 2) (see also Continuing History of the Church of God), the expression 'Continuing Church of God' was selected.
More information on the Christian church can be found in the free online pdf booklet: Where is the True Christian Church Today?
There are some similarites in some doctrines held by the Messianic Jews and Continuing Church of God. Here is a listing of selected Messianic Jewish beliefs from About Religion:
Baptism - Baptism is done by immersion, of people who are old enough to understand and accept Yeshua as Messiah, or Savior. ...
Dietary Laws - Some Messianic Jews observe kosher dietary laws, others do not. ...
Holidays - Holy days observed include those recognized by Judaism: Passover, Sukkot, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah. ...
Sabbath - Like traditional Jews, Messianic Jews observe the Sabbath starting at sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.
(Zavada J. Messianic Jews’ Beliefs and Practices What Do Messianic Jews Believe? About Religion. http://christianity.about.com/od/messianicjewishmovement/a/Messianic-Jews-Beliefs-And-Practices.htm viewed 09/07/14)
We in the Continuing Church of God teach baptism of adults by immersion.
In the Continuing Church of God we avoid bibically unclean meats (see The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats), but do not believe that the Bible enjoins all the other 'kosher' rules upon Christians or Jews.
In the Continuing Church of God we keep the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday as well as the biblical Holy Days. However, we tend to use the names from the New Testament or translated into English from the Old Testament. It is my understanding that most Messianic Jews have more ritualistic practices associated with keeping the Sabbath and biblical Holy Days than we in the Continuing Church of God do.
The What We Believe webpage of the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues also adds:
We believe that salvation has always been "by faith," and that works of law, or righteous acts, have never saved anyone (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 2-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 11:6, 39). (What We Believe. International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues http://www.iamcs.org/#/about-us/what-we-believe viewed 09/07/14)
We in the Continuing Church of God essentially agree with that. The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God teaches:
SALVATION IS BY THE NAME OF JESUS BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH AND HE WILL RETURN
“Jesus Christ of Nazareth…for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12). “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is God’s gift by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Romans 5:10).
God is merciful (Exodus 34:6; Luke 6:36) and wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), yet because of various difficulties, few will find salvation in this age (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:23-24; Romans 11:6-7; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Upon repentance and baptism, God justifies repentant Christians from their past sins. Christians then begin an ongoing process of “being saved“ as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and having Christ live us (Galatians 2:20). Salvation for those Christians in this age will be complete at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-54); “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
We are not saved by works. But early Christians, like those in the Continuing Church of God, believed that God's law showed love and that His commandments should observed (see also The Ten Commandments and the Early Church).
Perhaps it should be mentioned that among the Messianic Jews, some prefer to use the term Netzarim or Nazarene in reference to their faith. However, while the Nazarenes of the 4th century seem to hold Church of God doctrines, they were not 'Messianic Jews' in the modern sense. See Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? For more on history, see Continuing History of the Church of God.
There are many Messianic views on prophecy and there are variations of views amongst Church of God groups.
Here is something from the "What We Believe" page of the website of the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues:
ISRAEL IN PROPHECY
We believe in God's end-time plan for the nation of Israel and for the world. A central part of Messianic Judaism is the belief in the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel, as taught in the Scriptures. The greatest miracle of our day has been the re-establishment or rebirth of the State of Israel according to prophecy (Ezek. 34:11-31; 36-39; Hos. 3; Amos 9:11-15; Zech. 12-14; Isa. 11; 43; 54; 60-62; 66; Rom. 11:1-34) (What We Believe. International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues http://www.iamcs.org/#/about-us/what-we-believe viewed 09/07/14)
We in the Continuing Church of God do not believe that the "rebirth of the State of Israel" is the "greatest miracle of our day," though we believe it is consistent with certain prophecies. Yet, we believe that Romans 11 is discussing something completely different, to cite one example--and that 'all Israel' is absolutely not limited to the nation called Israel or the people called Jews. Because Messianic Jews do not understand the plan of God pertaining to salvation in the age to come or certain aspects of end time prophecy and the millennium, we believe that they misunderstand what Romans 11 is teaching (see also Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).
Certain Messianic Jews were caught up with the 'blood moons' of 2014 and 2015, a prophetic misunderstanding which I denounced as early I learned of it in 2008 (see Blood Moons and Prophecy).
Here is another report about Messianic prophetic views:
Some Messianic Jews hold to certain eschatological beliefs concerning events such as the End of Days, the Second Coming of Jesus as the conquering Messiah, the re-gathering of Israel, a rebuilt Third Temple, a resurrection of the dead, and the Millennial Sabbath.
Some Messianic Jews believe that all of the Jewish holidays, and indeed the entire Torah, intrinsically hint at the Messiah, and thus no study of the End Times is complete without understanding the major Jewish Festivals in their larger prophetic context. To certain believers, the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot were fulfilled in Jesus's first coming, and Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot will be at his second. Some also believe in a literal 7000-year period for the human history of the world, with a Millennial Messianic kingdom prior to a final judgment. (Messianic Judaism. Wikipedia, viewed 09/07/14)
We in the Continuing Church of God believe in the End of Days, Second Coming of Jesus as ruling Messiah, resurrections of the dead, and the Millennium. We do NOT believe that a third temple must be built in Jerusalem (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? ). We do believe in a regathering of Israel, but this seems to be different than how the Messianic Jews view this (see also Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel).
We also believe that the biblical holy days all are relevant for Christians and point to aspects of Christ. We believe that Jesus was the Passover lamb and that the Christian church began on the day of Pentecost (called Shavuot above). We believe that the Fall Holy Days (referred to as Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot above) all picture future prophetic events that will affect Christians.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that the overwhelming majority of Church of God adherents are not part of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God. The overwhelming majority of true Christians are part of groups that hold Sardisian and Laodicean era views on prophecy.
Those with the Sardisians tend to hold a preterist view on prophecy and hence believe that the Great Tribulation, etc. occurred in the past, hence they will not see what is happening until it is too late per Jesus (see Revelation 3:1-6).
All the Laodicean groups I am aware of have such serious prophetic misunderstandings that unless they repent as Jesus admonished (Revelation 3:14-22), they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late (details are in the article The Laodicean Church Era). The group with the most biblically accurate prophetic positions is the Continuing Church of God.
Despite certain similarities, there are major differences in the beliefs and practices of the Messianic Jews and the Continuing Church of God.
The Continuing Church of God has a completely different view of God's plan and does not have the focus on various Jewish regulations that the Messianic Jews have. We believe that God's plan will result in nearly all ultimately accepting salvation through Jesus Christ (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis) and that we need to be diligent to preach Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
Messianic Jews have a faith that combines elements of the Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths with regulations that Jewish traditions imposed upon Jews--similar to those pushed by the Pharisees that Jesus condemned..
The two groups are quite different. It is the Continuing Church of God and not the Messianic Jews that truly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
Two booklets of interest may include Continuing History of the Church of God and Where is the True Christian Church Today?
Thiel B. Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God. http://www.cogwriter.com/messianic-jews.htm COGwriter (c) 2014/2015/2016 1025