Part 1.
General Objections

1.1. Jews don't believe in Jesus.

That is a serious misconception as well as a gross overstatement. Jews have always believed in Jesus. In fact, in the beginning, it was only Jews who believed in him, and today, there are probably more Jewish believers in Jesus than ever before.

Although you may not be aware of this (I certainly wasn't for the first sixteen years of my life), it is common knowledge to both Jewish and Christian historians that all of Jesus' original followers were Jews, and within a few years after his death and resurrection, thousands of Jews believed in him. At first the question was, "Can you be a Gentile and believe in Jesus?" That's how Jewish this whole thing was! (Read Acts 15 for more information.)

Since then, in every generation there has been a faithful remnant of Jews who have followed Jesus the Messiah, numbering from the thousands into the tens of thousands, and they have maintained their faith in spite of often difficult consequences. Right now, there are as many as 150,000 to 200,000 Jewish believers in Jesus worldwide (this is probably a conservative estimate), including American Jews, Russian Jews, South American Jews, and Israeli Jews. Many of them are highly educated, and some are ordained rabbis. Jews do believe in Jesus, and their numbers are growing by leaps and bounds.

1.2. I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew!

You're absolutely right! You were born a Jew, and whether you believe in Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Sigmund Freud, or Rev. Moon, you'll always be a Jew. The question is, Will you be a faithful Jew in God's sight? That's what really matters. You must never forget that as a Jew you have a special calling and responsibility. Will you fulfill the purpose for which God made you? Being a Jew is no small thing. Will you live and die in right relationship with God? Will you love him with all your heart and soul and strength? And if what we're telling you about Jesus being the Jewish Messiah is really true (and we're quite sure it is), will you be a faithful Jew who follows your Messiah or an unfaithful Jew who rejects him?

Can I ask you a simple question? Who is a Jew? If you give the traditional answer, namely, you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish, you really haven't answered anything. What makes your mother Jewish?

Is being a Jew simply a religious matter? If so, are atheistic Jews still Jews? Are humanistic Jews still Jews? And what of Reform Jews who deny that the Torah is literally the Word of God and who don't believe in a physical resurrection or a literal Messiah? Are they still Jews? Is being a Jew simply a matter of ethics? If so, is an unethical, corrupt Orthodox rabbi still a Jew? Is being a Jew a matter of solidarity with the people of Israel? Then what of antinationalist Israelis? Are they still Jews? Is being a Jew simply a matter of ethnicity? If so, then one's religious beliefs can't change one's Jewishness.

Again, the question must be asked, Who is a Jew? It's important not to use a double standard here. For example, if you're a secular Jew and you do not live by the Torah or the Rabbinic traditions, how can you tell me that I'm not Jewish because I believe in Jesus? You might say, "But you have joined another religion!" I answer: No, I'm following the religion of the Scriptures. And according to the Torah, the issue is not one of "different religion" but of lifestyle and faith. God is not so much concerned with what "religion" we identify ourselves with—the word religion doesn't even occur once in the entire Hebrew Scriptures—as much as with what we believe and how we live. In fact, from a biblical viewpoint, being an atheist or a materialist or a sensualist constitutes infinitely more of a departure from the faith than entering into disputes about who the Messiah is.

I follow the Word of God and love the Lord with all my heart and soul. Do you? If not, how can you tell me I'm not a Jew? (By the way: Both my mother and father are Jewish.) I have given my life to make the God of Israel known to the nations. Have you? If not, how can you tell me I'm not a Jew? I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob every day, praying to him and studying his Scriptures constantly. Is that your lifestyle too? If not, how can you tell me I'm not a Jew? I have turned away from living for self-gratification and sinful pleasure, seeking to be holy because the Lord is holy. What about you? You must ask yourself whether you are really living as a faithful Jew in God's sight.

If you are Orthodox, you probably have no problem recognizing me as a Jew. In fact, you might even identify me with the special—but hardly flattering—label "apostate Jew." Even anti-missionaries recognize that Jewish followers of Jesus are still Jews, targeting us in particular with their outreach efforts. They certainly aren't investing this kind of time and effort in reaching Gentile Christians!

In the end, the real question is not whether Jews who follow Jesus are still Jewish. Rather, the crucial question is whether Jesus is the Messiah predicted by Moses and the prophets. If he is, then you, as a Jew, must do some real soul-searching and answer a difficult, challenging question: How can you call yourself a Jew and yet reject or ignore our God-sent Jewish Messiah? Following the Messiah is part of the fabric of our soul, touching on the very reason for our existence as a people.

You see, one of the key reasons the Lord put the Jewish people on this earth was so that we could be a nation of priests (kohanim), spreading the light of the knowledge of God to the rest of the world. In other words, instead of keeping the truth to ourselves, we were called to declare the glory of the Lord to the Gentiles and educate them in his truth. The Scriptures speak of this clearly:

You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

Exodus 19:4-6

Sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;

proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

he is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 96:1-4

Yes, the people of Israel were to be a light to the world. This is part of our destiny and calling as Jews, and it is only through the Jewish Messiah that we can fulfill this God-ordained task. This is something you need to consider. In fact, it may help you to understand why you sometimes have wondered about your very identity and purpose in life. What does it mean to be born a Jew? Why are we here? Why have we experienced so much trouble with so little positive fruit? What is our mission after all? Is there something we have been missing—or someone we have been missing?

I know this may be a hard pill to swallow, but it's really important that you give this some careful thought. Is it possible that this Jesus-Yeshua whom you so strongly reject is the key to bringing the knowledge of the only true God to the inhabitants of this planet? Is it possible that true Jewishness is directly tied in with following him?

Think about it. It will do you—along with many others too—a world of good.